It’s hard for Team Blue Cabin to believe it has been half a decade since the company began. Back then I was more on the periphery of the organisation, helping out and supporting where needed, absolutely convinced of the need for an organisation like Blue Cabin to exist, and 100% sure that Jenny had the right values, exceptional skills and drive to make a difference to the lives of care experienced children and young people. I am so deeply proud of those first few years, and how, in 2020 of all years, many of the relationships, partnerships and sheer hard work instigated by a small team started to flourish. From Jenny working part time from home we now employ three staff, engage 3 Associates to manage projects and work alongside 10 associate artists across 3 local authorities. All in all we have now supported over 1500 care-experienced children and young people, worked with 25 cultural organisations and trained over 1000 adults in areas such as trauma, attachment, creative life story work and social pedagogy.
The journey from a community interest group to a charity has been one that started over two years ago when it became clear that the entirety of our work was about public benefit. In light of the potential for growth for the organisation, we also wanted to shift our thinking to being more long term. Setting up a governance structure means the work we do now can carry on well into the future and beyond any one person’s input and involvement.
In making that shift we knew we would need to bring on board a fantastic group of individuals who shared the values of Blue Cabin and had experience, wisdom and time to support the team. I remember talking with Jenny and Dawn about how this set of appointments felt like a very unique and important moment for the company, and one where we felt the weight of the responsibility to get it right. Luckily, I believe we did!
Across all the three new appointments we have made, a unifying thread for me has been the shared belief in the potential of all children and young people, the importance of nurturing meaningful relationships and partnerships, and the belief in the power of creativity.
Alongside myself and Eleanor Mooney, the new trustees are:
Catherine Hearne is currently a Non-Executive Independent Director with Together for Children, a trustee at Changing Lives, and Chair of Culture Bridge North East. Catherine has worked and led in education, the media and the arts. She’s passionate about supporting children and young people to explore their worlds with artists, creatives and makers. Catherine has considerable cross sector experience and we can’t wait for her to be able to support Blue Cabin as we look to bring together more partnerships, people and places in the North East.
Mark Dibble is currently HR Director for the NHS Business Services Authority which is part of the NHS and provides critical services to the NHS, patients and the public. Mark leads on the development of people and creating a great place to work and grow. He is passionate about supporting people to be their best and already runs a coaching service in his spare time. We are really looking forward to the insights and wisdom that Mark can bring to our own growing family of staff and associates.
Ryan Humphrey is an experienced community musician, PhD researcher and community arts lecturer. Ryan has worked nationally with several organisations to develop, deliver and evaluate numerous projects working with and for care-experienced children and young people. As a practitioner who delivers work on the ground with care experienced children and a researcher in this field we are so excited about the insights around practice and research that Ryan will bring to the board.
Whilst these appointments are a significant step in the Blue Cabin governance journey, we know we still have further to travel. Care-experienced people’s voices must be heard and present in all that we do. Whilst this is the case in all our projects and programmes, we must ensure that this is also at the governance level too, so keep an eye out for future announcements on more fantastic appointments in the near future as we build a fantastic team that will guide, nurture, support and hold to account the work of Blue Cabin CIO.
The seed project that Blue Cabin grew out of five years ago was called “Head, Hands and Heart” and the new appointments to the board represent these words in that I truly believe they will bring their full range of skills, experiences and hearts to bear for the betterment of Blue Cabin and the children and young people we exist to support and champion.
Chair of trustees,
Blue Cabin CIO