What's it like juggling the financial pressures caused by Covid-19? Our Head of Finance Sue Bottomley tells us about this as well as the increased need for our services and the challenges of working from home.
How has financing at St Michael's been affected as a result of Covid?
There have been additional costs in making sure everyone has the right kit that they need, making sure people have VPN and RDS links at home and we've paid for extra Zoom licences.Hillary has been looking at a lot of emergency funds, we have been in close contact about what we can claim.
It feels like a lot of juggling and there has been a lot of financial pressure mainly because we are working with less families because of the need for social distancing and quarantine for residential families. We are trying to find ways to alleviate that. Trustees recognise that we’re working with fewer families and we have less income. Their question is how long can this go on for, so there is a lot of future planning which is incredibly difficult at the moment.
What are some things our supporters could do to help us during Covid?
The London Marathon brings in at least £20,000 every year and we’re not getting that now. The quiz and newsletter that Sarah put together is fantastic and the quiz helped to reach out to a few more people . There’s quite a strong message to say to existing supporters that we are still carrying on. We are still offering the same full service as best we can to all the families. There’s still lots of families in need - arguably there’s more families in need at the moment, especially around domestic violence.
It would be good if we can increase our supporter base and we hope our current supporters share our posts on social media.
How have you had to adapt in performing your role at St Michael's because of Covid?
I was 100% office-based before and now I have switched to 100% home-based. From a finance team's perspective it has been a challenge as a lot of paperwork passes our desk whether it's supplier invoices or petty cash claims coming in. Checking timesheets on a screen is challenging, I would usually tick things off as I go and highlight, but now its all by email. But we have worked around it.
How has it been working from home?
It has its ups and its down. Having a dedicated workspace I can shut my door at the end of the day and walk away from it. But some days are easier than others, sometimes it can be hard to get yourself motivated.
Normally, I cycle to work and in that time you get to switch your brain into work-mode or home-mode. I miss the social side of things like having chats across the desks. Things are changing so fast, how we respond and how we adapt our work. It changes almost daily. I like to catch up with our Director Sue about the changes, and of course the financial implications.