Director of Operations Jenny is launching our brand new learning breaks this month. We chatted to her about challenges and achievements, singing round the campfire and what Honeypot means to her.
“Before I joined Honeypot, I was a teacher and then a headteacher. I started my teaching career in inner-city Birmingham, working with a lot of children who faced very challenging circumstances. I always knew I wanted to carry on helping young people but I wanted to take on a new challenge, so when the post at Honeypot opened, I jumped at the chance. Here, I know that the children in most need do get that all-important support and individual attention.
“I joined Honeypot in 2018 as the Site Operations Manager in Hampshire and straight away got a taste of the real work Honeypot do when, on my second day on the job, one of our on-site staff got sick just as the children arrived and I had to step in. It was actually a great way to get to know the site and more importantly meet the kids. Over the days they spent there, you could really see how they relaxed and grew in confidence. They got a real sense of achievement from doing things they’d never done before, like learning to ride a bike or how to swim.
“One boy always felt he had to tidy the table up after meals – we had to tell him that that was what we were there for, as he was on holiday!
“I’m now Director of Operations for the whole charity. My role is pretty varied – from strategic service delivery and managing staff to making sure that everything is running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. At the moment I’m looking forward to our new social and emotional active learning (SEAL) breaks, which I’m spearheading. Mental health and self-esteem can be a big problem for young carers, so we are deploying the Stepping Stones programme created by ASDAN to focus on building resilience and confidence, amongst other useful skills. Many of these children are used to putting themselves last. This break will put them first, helping them to see themselves as successful individuals and gain skills they can apply in their lives for years to come.
“The SEAL pilot went brilliantly. We had so many positive comments from the children and their families, especially about how proud they felt of their achievements and how they’d learnt skills they could carry on using. I particularly enjoyed singing round the campfire with them and making campfire bread (even if we did end up burning it!).
“The job can be challenging, and though I’m proud of the work we do, there are always more children that we could reach.
“At the end of the day, though, it’s all about seeing them having fun, and knowing that we’ve equipped them with the skills (not to mention happy memories) to make life a little brighter and open doors for them in the future.”
Honeypot is the national charity for young carers aged five to twelve. We do not receive government funding and rely on your donations to keep running respite breaks. Please consider supporting us by making a donation, attending an event, or making us your organisation’s charity partner.