My Week: Gerard Cousins catches up with the regional teams

The director of retail and trading at Barnardo's recounts his week

Gerard Cousins
Gerard Cousins

Monday: I leave my home in Wiltshire at the eye-wateringly early time of 5.30am and drive to Barnardo's head office in Barkingside, Essex, where I grab a much-needed cuppa, review the sales figures from the previous week and touch base with my regional teams. It's national Volunteers' Week from 1 to 7 June, so store teams are gearing up to thank those who volunteer with us.

Tuesday: I travel to Manchester to meet one of our trustees to discuss a Barnardo's retail three-year strategic plan, taking him to some more innovative and profitable stores in the area. He is impressed, particularly with our new retail park store in Denton, which could be mistaken for a commercial fashion retailer. I then embark on the long commute back to Essex and listen to a radio news programme about a sexual exploitation case. This makes me reflect on the work we do and what drives me in this role.

Wednesday: I head to the Barnardo's trading office in Wickford, Essex, home of our new goods range. I go through a range review with our head of trading and discuss opportunities.

I grab a quick lunch and then pop over to head office to catch up with the retail team, armed with a couple of packets of biscuits. We chat about how the week is going and what they might need from me, before I head off - this time to Birmingham.

Thursday: I meet Barnardo's director of strategy in Birmingham and embark on store visits to give her a glimpse of our retail formats and an insight into how we raise £50m a year in sales. It also gives us a chance to meet and thank volunteers who help to keep our stores running.

Friday: I'm up and out early to head to the regional office in Bristol where there is a hot desk room for staff visiting the region. It's easy to get my head down and catch up with emails. I set about clearing the inbox pile-up and catching up with corporate projects until 5pm, when it's time to head home for a much-needed rest.

Barnardo's is a charity that helps children in poverty, young carers and families looking to foster or adopt.

Gerard Cousins is director of retail and trading at Barnardo's

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