AWOC – running on empty

Apologies but I need to have a bit of a vent!

It’s been a year since I started to seriously work on Ageing without Children and 2 months since I started to work on it on a practically full time unpaid basis. It’s a very long time since I’ve felt as passionately about something as I do about AWOC. The reaction from people ageing without children themselves: that feeling of “you as well? It’s not just me? I’m not alone anymore”, the fears they have expressed, the enthusiasm with which they have shared their thoughts, ideas and time and their belief in what we are trying to do to make society a better place for all older people is inspiring and uplifting. However, AWOC has no money to do all the things we want, no need, to do.

I’ve spent 20 years working in the voluntary sector and I thought I knew about doing things on a shoe string but when you don’t even have a string, it’s hard! AWOC has no funding at all. Not a penny. The only money we get is from people mostly from within our community who have donated to our go fund me page.

Fortunately we do live in an age of fantastic technology and I can do a lot of things on line with email, face book and twitter, however I can’t do everything that way.

Some people don’t do face book or social media of any kind. They would like to talk to other people in their position but only want to do so face to face. Some older people don’t do email, they want copies of reports or newsletters – how do I print off copies of reports when I have only a small black & white printer and I know the quality will be poor but I can’t pay for the reports to be printed? Even if I could, I have no money for postage or to buy the stationery I need to send the reports anyway.

People want to send me things but I don’t have an office base only a home address which I’d prefer for obvious reasons not to give out. I’d like people ageing without children and other interested organisations to be able to call me if they wanted to but I have no capacity to answer the phone and deal with all the emails, meetings, media requests and funding bids I need to do as well. I know people would give their time to man the phones but I don’t have a phone they can use because I have no office and work from home.

I know the answer to this is to get some funding; there are lot of grant pots out there. However, I’m not a fundraiser, and don’t know how to have those initial conversations with funders, you know the ones that can strike you out of the running before you’ve even started because you said the wrong thing.  I know the most sensible thing to do would be to employ someone to do it for me, someone who knows what they’re doing but of course I don’t have any money…..

It is immensely frustrating to have an identified an issue that everyone agrees has gone unrecognised and needs work urgently only to be unable to do the things I know need doing because we don’t have the money to do it.

If you would like to donate to AWOC, our funding page is here