Farewell to Sarah and Rachel!

SPEAK inspires a special sort of dedication from everyone who gets involved, and the Network Support team is no exception.

This week, the NST are sad to be saying farewell to two members of the team. Over the last few years, they have poured themselves into SPEAK, giving their time, energy and considerable gifts to support the network. You may not have met them, or even been previously aware of their existence, but if you are, or have been a member of a SPEAK group over the last couple of rears, you have benefitted from the work they have done.

Sarah Henderson joined SPEAK as an administrator in November 2010, and gamely took on the role of acting co-ordinator when the position became vacant in April last year. In her time at SPEAK, she has overseen Vocal Training, two glorious Soundchecks, four shiny new editions of Volumize, a change of office and (most importantly) cared for, encouraged and built up the team who support the Network. You may also have noticed the beautiful cut-out designs for the Vocal Training, Soundcheck and Flower Model resources. That was her.

Slightly less glamourously, she has spent weekends surrounded by piles of invoices, updating the SPEAK accounts, sorted out our (messy) storage situation – even when a leak rendered piles of “Core Values” booklets nauseatingly stagnant and mouldy.

But most of all, she has brought a sunny disposition, creative energy and no-nonsense commitment which will be hard to beat. She's moving on to work for the Shoreditch Trust, and I'm sure our loss will be their gain.

Rachel Carpenter has been working for SPEAK for over two years, having started as a Regional Support Worker back in 2010, after a brief stint in London helping prepare for Soundcheck. She worked tirelessly supporting Groups and Links in the North-West and Midlands of England for a year, before specialising in communications.

Since then, she has been diligently keeping the wheels of SPEAK oiled, editing Volumize, using her experience as an RSW to develop new resources and approaches for our support, particularly of SPEAK Links, and sifting through hours and hours of MP3s for our Unfinished Business campaign. In fact, she has been so quiet and uncomplaining, we suspect that once she has left, we will find a vast array of other tasks that she performed without any of us realising.

We're sure we haven't seen the last of either of them, but we'd like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah and Rachel for all they’ve done to support the SPEAK Network, and to wish them all the best for the future.

We're always on the lookout for new people to join the NST. If you'd be interested in joining the Network Support Team, or Volunteering for SPEAK, get in touch!