By Katie Hadley
When Little Lounge started in 2015 as a Baby and Toddler Group I had no idea we would end up as a registered charity with employees and a premises!
In fact if someone had told me that I would have probably run in the opposite direction!
Little Lounge started as a response to a need in our community; I was a young mother with no car and a baby at home. I had a few friends in a similar situation and we imagined there were probably others in the village, also needing support. So we opened Little Lounge in the cold & damp basement of an old Anglican church it was wonderful and we never looked back!
Fast forward 7 years – in 2022 we were a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organsiation) on the brink of signing a lease for our own premises and I was now part-time employed to oversee the multi-faceted organisation that Little Lounge had become. Devastatingly my ‘right hand woman’ felt it was time for her to step away from providing all the essential admin and accounting work she had done voluntarily for the past few years.
I didn’t know what we would do; it was definitely not the right time to be relying on my non existent admin skills to navigate the next season of Little Lounge. We had over £100,000 in grant funding ready to spend on the new premises and a team of builders waiting in the wings, whilst I was still overseeing the running of all our projects on the ground; Baby Group, Community Pantry, landscaping the Little Allotment and working on a new Equine Therapy project.
When we heard about the Comic Relief Community Fund ‘Organisational Growth’ grant we knew if we could secure funding it would be a game changer! We could employ an administrator to take on the admin, relieve me of some of the tasks I don’t do very well and continue to support me to focus on what I am good at!
In September 2022 we were over the moon that we were selected to receive £22,580 from CRCF. It has enabled us to employ Emma to be a spread sheet genius managing our 20+ grants simultaneously. I became the new CEO (doesn’t that sound impressive?!) essentially doing what I’ve always done – driving Little Lounge forwards to serve our community in the best ways we possibly can.
I’m so grateful to Emma for hitting the ground running with Little Lounge! She’s whipped us into administrative shape but she’s also passionate about the projects we deliver on the ground. As a Cilfynydd local who attended Baby Group with her own little ones she knows first hand the importance of the work we do in our community.
“Like the saying goes, ‘Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life’. Well before I joined Little Lounge I did not believe this at all. Now I love working! Little Lounge allows me to use my knowledge and strengths on a daily basis to facilitate the charity… Not everyone likes working with numbers and paperwork all day but I do, and its totally worth it when you see a picture posted on social media from a new mother that is finally out of the house and made a new mum friend at Baby Group… or a friendly ‘Hello’ at the community Pantry from the many users who I’d have never meet otherwise. I wish to continue working with Little Lounge as long as I can, as I see a bright and vibrant future for all involved.“
We could never have navigated the past year without Emma’s admin skills; the management of the renovation costs alone would have frazzled me! The funding to employ Emma has made us so much stronger as an organisation. Huge thanks to WCVA and Comic Relief Community Fund for supporting Little Lounge through this season of transition and growth and believing in us!