Alice Russell, Fundraising and Development Manager

We live in difficult, divided, and disconnected times. After two years of lockdowns, the human experience of loneliness and isolation is one that is shared by too many. Suffering is so commonplace, that we can find ourselves turning away, what can we do?

There could not have been a more poignant time join a charity whose vision is to live in community where no one feels isolated; joining a united team, on a mission to bring people together in their local community to improve their health and wellbeing.

During my first 100 days at The Eric Liddell Community, I have been reminded that kindness is still in the air. Surrounded by people who choose daily, to care, and what a resilient and committed sector I get to work in.

I’m delighted to be leading the charity’s Fundraising Team as we navigate beyond the pandemic, out of survival mode to grow our fundraising and income once more. Not just to celebrate realising new and ambitious targets, though I’m sure we will, but because I know what that money can, and will, help to achieve through the extraordinary services the charity delivers for people living with dementia, unpaid carers and for our neighbours across the city.

I hit my 100-day milestone this week. Reflecting on this time, I have been most notably struck by our Day Care and caring services teams’ talent, compassion and diligence, as well as pondering some personal highlights from this time:

  • Launching our Community Well-being lunches, seeing folks from all over Edinburgh come to the Community Hub to share, connect and enjoy a nutritious meal.
  •  Margaret, one of our Day Care clients, putting us through our paces showing us how to do the Jive.
  • Meeting HRH Princess Royal as she became patron of our new initiative, Eric Liddell 100, celebrating the centenary of our namesake’s Olympic gold medal in Paris 1924
  • Holding our Spring Fair, for over 500 members of our community and volunteers to come along to.
  • Celebrating our extraordinary volunteers, the heartbeat of our community, during Volunteers Week

As wonderful as it is to recall those moments from the last 100 days, it must be said that it’s not all been celebratory and hopeful. It is a harrowing time for the social care sector and the full impact of the pandemic on our team and whole community’s wellbeing is still being realised. However, amidst the highs and lows, I have seen an intensely inspiring case for the active power of care, compassion and community; from our Day Care clients, carers, The Eric Liddell Community team, Trustees, partners, volunteers, funders and so many who use our Community Hub.

Every individual has their own story to tell, about their part of The Eric Liddell Community, what they’ve shared, who they’ve connected with and why they came along. It’s been humbling to listen to some of their stories, and a privilege to share some of them; to raise awareness of the incredible services The Eric Liddell Community provide as well as generate new income to ensure their longevity.

Having been inspired by these stories and the defiant passion of our team and community, I know that together, we will realise our vision: to live in a community where no one feels lonely or isolated. Because the need for connection is the very fabric of what makes us human and it’s not only how we survive, but thrive. Here’s to the next 100 days, and many more besides.