FD in Five Minutes: Sarah Welsh

Third Sector speaks to the director of operations and finance at the children and young person's charity Woodcraft Folk

Sarah Welsh
Sarah Welsh

Why did you choose finance as a career? I was good at maths and studied it at university. Training as a chartered accountant seemed a logical next step at the time.

What made you work in the charity sector? Having trained and worked in business for four years, I realised I was not interested in making money for a company’s shareholders. I wanted to make a difference in the world. I did not want to ditch the time I had invested in training as an accountant, so I realised that I could do this in the charity sector. I became resources director at Friends of the Earth, then the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and now Woodcraft Folk.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? In 2006, Friends of the Earth ran a fantastic campaign called The Big Ask, in which all our supporters were asked to visit their MPs and demand a Climate Change Act, which would be the first of its kind. When it was announced in the government’s Queen’s Speech, I felt incredibly proud to be part of the team that made that happen.

What do you do outside work? I am very lucky to have an allotment, despite living in central London, and I spend many hours happily growing vegetables.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career/life so far? My partner, Rick, who has supported and encouraged me at every step of the way to reach my potential and believe I can make a difference in the world.

If you were charities minister for the day, what one thing would you do? Change the rules on VAT for charities and enable them to recover all the VAT they pay.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? It is really tough out there at the moment for charities and their beneficiaries, but I am by nature an optimist and it can only get better.

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