CEO Blog – We all need friends

Andy Cook CEO

4 November 2022

Life’s a bit easier when you have friends to bounce things off, isn’t it? A problem shared, and
all that? In the charity world, it makes good sense for us to help each other, join forces and
work together when there’s a clear benefit to be had. Particularly when it brings added-value
to the people that our charities are set up to support.
So, I was delighted to be put in touch with Julia this week. Julia is an experienced dyslexia
specialist and founder of Literacy100, a charity that seeks to help people from the homeless
community improve their literacy. Many of the people Julia works with are dyslexic. Julia
also filled me in on all her work with Thames Reach, another charity working with homeless
people in London. We brainstormed ways in which our respective charities can work
together to improve the opportunities of homeless people who are struggling with literacy
and where dyslexia may be a factor.
Also this week I was lucky enough to be put in touch with Dean from NoticeAbility. This is a
non-profit based in the USA, which is doing brilliant work with students who have dyslexia –
Dean is Head Honcho. We have set up a call next week, to compare notes and see how we
can work together and learn from each other. It feels like the pandemic prevented us from
forging these sorts of links over the last two years, and it’s great to start making new friends
Likewise, it was brilliant to meet my newly-appointed opposite number at the British
Dyslexia Association. Chivonne was only appointed Interim CEO of the BDA just last month,
so I felt very honoured that she could find the time in her busy induction schedule to pop
down to Farnham, to hear more about our work at Helen Arkell, to compare notes and
generally just to start forging a productive working relationship.
On Tuesday this week, Tory and I were delighted to make new friends at euNetworks, a
company that has a brilliant way of managing its workforce, and undertakes ‘Watercooler
Chats’ to bring people together and spark off discussions on a range of issues. Tory and I
joined them to introduce the topic of dyslexia and we had some great discussions between
all the 62 participants. We’ll certainly find ways to work together again in future.
Then on Thursday night, we made some friends down the pub! – this was a Quiz Night in aid
of Helen Arkell, at the Hog’s Back Brewery. Thank you to everyone who joined in to support
us and had some fun; beer and pizza at the same time!
Last but by no means least, this week Rachael and I met another group of individuals who
are keen to join our team of dyslexia specialists. It was great to hear all their various
experiences and to see how they might fit into our growing network. Between us, our aim is
to help more people with dyslexia with every year that goes by, so there will always be
room for recruiting more talent into our workforce.
Of course, there’s a very obvious way in which you could contribute to our overall team
effort too, even if you’re not a dyslexia specialist. We are badly in need of more Friends of
Helen Arkell, to become part of a growing ‘inner circle’ within the Helen Arkell community,
contributing small, monthly donations in return for receiving ‘behind-the-scenes’ news. You
will love being a Friend because it will make you all warm and fuzzy inside, and you’ll sleep
soundly in your bed. You will also give off an aura of saintly virtue, and will instantly become
more popular with everyone you know. Even Teddy Edward the Great Bear of Frensham is a
Friend of Helen Arkell. Or he would be if he had any money (which he doesn’t).
Onwards and upwards, my friends!
PS. We hope you like our new website, which was developed free of charge by our friends at
Delivered Social in Guildford. Our old website was on its last legs, so Jonathan and his team
stepped in with an incredibly generous offer to get us set up with a new one, free of charge.
A big shout-out to Jonathan’s gang, and particularly to office dog Dembe who is the real
brains of the operation. Thank you, guys!! It really is brand new this week, so if you spot any
glitches, typos, or anything else you feel we should know about, please drop us a line and
we’ll put it right. Thank you!