Julie hasn’t wasted a second getting down to work from her home in Yorkshire. Her enthusiasm for her new role colours every conversation.
I’m delighted to be appointed as the head of fundraising for BRF. I’ll be working with the fundraising team and leadership and staff groups at BRF to ensure that we are raising the funds required to deliver the remarkable ministries and programmes that BRF offers to people and also looking at our strategy going forwards into the next 100 years and beyond with this amazing charity.
What particularly excites her about her new role?
I like to think that my time is spent doing things that can help people, and I think there’s so much to be excited about the ministries and programmes that BRF delivers.
You can see the difference the programmes make to people’s lives. I’ve worked for other charities involved in care and for church and faith organisations, so I know the difference that being a fundraiser can make. The people who are out there delivering the ministries and programmes rely on the fundraisers working in the background, engaging with our supporters and enabling people to give so that the vital work can continue.
A former civil servant, Julie’s wide-ranging fundraising experience goes back 30 years to when she ran a charity in Leeds offering services such as Meals on Wheels, day-centre activities and skills training for young offenders.
She went on to work in event management, which, she says, ‘sits very well with fundraising’. She explains:
‘You can see the difference BRF makes to people’s lives’
I didn’t set out to be a fundraiser but I’ve developed in that role and gained experience and knowledge and qualifications.
Everybody can raise funds but not everybody can be a professional fundraiser: you need particular skills to enable you to engage with donors and to help donors to feel confident when they’re giving the money to an organisation. They’re trusting you to make sure their donations and their support are used wisely.
Julie has lived most of her life in Yorkshire though she has spent time working overseas. Her mum came from Yorkshire and her dad from Glasgow.
‘If you can find a role where you feel that you are making a difference and you feel valued that’s very special’
I grew up in a loving family surrounded by a really nice group of aunties and uncles and grandparents. It was a very happy childhood. I have two sisters and I’ve got two nephews, and I’m really close to all of them.
I became a Christian when I was 29, although prior to that we were taken to church as children, and my parents and my grandparents were all people of strong faith.
I currently attend a local Community Church and I really like the things that that church does in reaching out to the community. The care it has for the local area is really special to me.
So does Julie feel her new job is more than just a job?
Yes, I think it is. Of course, ultimately we go to work because we need to pay our bills, but if you can find a role where you feel that you are making a difference and you feel valued that’s very special.
But the fact remains, it is a very strange time to be starting a new job. How do current circumstances affect Julie’s approach to something so big and so new?
It’s certainly a very strange time for everybody. But although there are lots of challenges, I believe that organisations like BRF and charities and churches are needed more than ever. We can do so much to help people who are feeling isolated, who are asking the big, tough questions and who are looking for God in these uncertain times.
So I truly believe there are some real positives coming out of all this. I think that we’ll all look back on this time and discover that we’ve learned a lot about our faith and about our lives and relationships as a result of it.
So is it true to say Julie is hopeful for the future?
I’m a very positive person generally. I’m always enthusiastic about life and trying new things. My mantra is ‘walk on with hope in your heart’ and my Christian experience has been based on the hope that I have in God, particularly the promise in Jeremiah 29:11: ‘I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ (NIV).
To be honest, though, I also hold on to that verse because I’m a Liverpool Football Club fan, and having hope in your heart is a very important thing to us.
‘My mantra is –
walk on with hope in your heart’
I’m really hopeful about the work of the fundraising team at BRF; they’re a hard-working group of people and our supporters are so generous because they know that every pound really does make a difference. Really, it makes a massive difference.
What is the most important thing people can do to support BRF?
Underpin everything with prayer. Pray for the people that we’re reaching. Pray for the Bible reading notes and other resources as they go out. Pray for those delivering the amazing ministries and programmes.
Also, support us by spreading the word about what we do. Be advocates for BRF. If you’ve enjoyed reading our notes, tell people about it. If you’ve been visited or helped in any way by an Anna Chaplain or if you’ve had an amazing time in Messy Church, tell others about it. Spread the word.
That personal, word of mouth recommendation is a very valuable thing that you can do for us. I’d love for people to keep in touch with us through our website and on social media – to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and that’s another brilliant way to spread the word about what we’re doing.
‘Pray, spread the word and, if you can, donate. Even £2 a month is a seed planted that will grow into who knows what’
And, if you are in a position where you can donate money to support our work, that’s hugely helpful too. Even £2 a month is a seed planted that will grow into who knows what. We rely heavily on donations and gifts in wills to ensure that we will be financially sound for years to come. There will be all sorts of new developments in the months to come but right now I’m focused on the remarkable things we do and why we need people’s support.
Pray with us
All things come from you and of your own have we given you.
1 Chronicles 29:14 (NRSV)
Thrice generous God,
who as Creator gives us the world,
who as Redeemer empties yourself on the cross,
who as Spirit pours out your love into our hearts,
help us to follow your example
in our giving, our self-emptying and our pouring out of love,
for the sake of others.