As restaurants and pubs begin to reopen and people reunite with the family and friends they haven’t seen for months, there is at least a superficial sense that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is over (it certainly seems that’s what the government wants us to think).
But with a looming recession on the horizon, the way ahead looks as though it will be a painful ride for many in the charity sector. With minuscule amounts of the promised £750m government bailout paid out so far, the funding crisis continues apace, and over the past month we have covered stories of proposed redundancies, cut services and warnings of a shrinking sector.
These are horrible situations for any organisation to find themselves in. I know, because while we’re writing about them we’re also having to deal with them. In the past week we have suffered three major losses to Third Sector’s editorial team due to a programme of redundancies at our publishing house.
Everyone who knows Third Sector knows Andy Hillier. In the nine years he has worked on the brand, four of which he spent at the helm as editor, Andy’s passion and enthusiasm for Third Sector, and the wider voluntary and not-for-profit world we serve, made the magazine what it is today. His relentless energy carried the editorial team through our ambitious brand revamp last year, and it is an immense blow that he will not be taking us to even greater places in his very recent appointment as our business director.
Two names you might be less familiar with are Peter Collins, Third Sector’s production editor of 15 years, and our art director Carl Golsby, who has worked on the Haymarket brands for almost two decades.
Less reader-facing than the rest of the editorial team, Carl and Peter have nonetheless formed the unobtrusive backbone of our editorial output for years, working tirelessly to support the magazine and website’s output, strengthen the quality of our words and bring our stories to life.
I can’t articulate their contributions better than our features and analysis writer Rebecca, who yesterday described Peter as “diligently guarding the tone and style of the publication as well as preventing any number of mortifying typos making it into print over the years”, and Carl making our work “not only beautiful – often at very short notice – but coherent”.
Andy, Carl and Peter will all be profoundly missed by the editorial team. We can’t thank them enough for the time, talent and support they have given to Third Sector, and know that whatever they turn their attention to next will flourish as a result.
Their departure marks the beginning of a new era that – for now, at least –feels very uncertain for those of us who are left holding the fort. How the magazine will evolve and change amid the ongoing financial pressures we are facing is a question we will have to grapple with, and there are no doubt more difficult conversations still to come.
We are nevertheless determined to keep working to tell your stories – as your “sometimes critical but always empathetic friend”, as Andy has always described us – through the many challenges ahead.
The very best of luck to us all.