Summer holidays, IT and a bright new perspective

I’m back! Did you miss me? Hopefully not as part of my work here is to make myself dispensable :0, to put into place the systems, processes and most importantly people who can take Chrysalis into the future. Speaking of which did you see that our trustee Sammy has made it into the international press, NBC News no less?… talking about the culture of toxic masculinity within IT. Congratulations Sammy.

As Chrysalis grows we will always need someone to lead us, someone whose vision shapes our charity and guides our path so don’t worry I’m not going anywhere soon but as many of you have been telling me I do need to take a break occasionally, so, because I’m an obedient sort of person (honest), I actually took last week off. A whole week. Indeed not just a whole week but a week and a day I’ve got photographs to prove it and everything. When you come into the office next do check out the new addition, we now have a Hoptimist on the team, ready and waiting to receive our teabags.

One thing I know about progress is that it is always slower than plans but we finally have Windows 10 on all the office machines thanks to Alex our IT volunteer, we have a working scanner thanks to Deanna who has done some network wizardry and thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund we even have some new keyboards, a new projector and I’ve got a new laptop! I am so excited. I haven’t had a new laptop since: um… actually I don’t think I’ve every had a new laptop!

The more observant of you will have noticed that the website is down for maintenance, don’t panic! Communications will continue through Facebook, Twitter, email, phone and indeed you can still write to us if you wish. Trustee and webmistress extraordinaire Deanna will have the site up and running in no time.

Technology failure struck us badly last week (well the week before but in work terms that’s last week, yes?) with the failure of our projection equipment which meant I had to cancel training at the last minute. I am sincerely sorry to have messed people around and know that Dawn has been working tirelessly in my absence to make things better. I can assure you all that we now have a wonderful, brand new, projector which not only works with HDMI but also doesn’t require a small sun to operate. Yes indeed, Chrysalis has said goodbye to our last tungsten filament bulb!

There was good news last week too, we have now secured venues for the Portsmouth Wellbeing group and for the Bournemouth Trans and Questioning Group and are up to strength on volunteers for both of these groups too. If you are interested in joining one of the groups or otherwise want to find out more then contact the office on or call on 01489 589111. Typically the first phone call will take about an hour, giving you the space to talk to our advisors about who you are and to find out more about what we do and if our support is what you are looking for. If you have a particular time when we should call you, or other support requirements then put them in the email and our advisors will work with you to give you the best support possible.

People sometimes ask why we need to keep the venue locations confidential, why everyone needs to contact the office first, and then meet with a member of Chrysalis in person before they can come to their first group. We know not everyone who comes to Chrysalis is out, we respect that for some people Chrysalis groups may be the only time they can be open about their gender identity, to be heard and respected in a safe non-judgemental space where they can both explore and express who they are and everyone who joins us commits to maintaining that safety, that confidentiality and that acceptance and understanding that everyone’s process is different, that being trans is something integral, and not always about transition.

What’s on this week then? We have interviews for the Project Coordinator role, lots of lovely one-to-ones with my counsellors and facilitators then on Wednesday I’m in Farnborough at the Rushmore Voluntary Services forum speaking about the work Chrysalis does and promoting our Basingstoke group followed by the quarterly Counsellor’s meeting which is developing into a great space where we can develop Chrysalis counselling, get some peer support and some professional development. Volunteering as a counsellor for Chrysalis isn’t just about turning up at the meetings twice a month, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes.

And finally Friday we get to hear from Neil and Kevan about our new financial management package. I am really rather excited about this. With the awarding of the Lottery grant and the upturn in other fundraising Chrysalis has a duty to demonstrate proper financial management procedures. Kevan has worked incredibly hard behind the scenes for years producing spreadsheets and accounts and it is thanks to his hard work and that of the secretary and treasurer that we were able to successfully bid for Lottery funding but with that funding comes a need to move away from spreadsheets and bespoke systems to Quickbooks, a system which allows for a Chief Executive who is not an accountant to get the reports they need. A system which allows us to publish regular reports to all of our volunteers. A system which is robust and works best for an office where the majority of our staff are part time.

I would say “watch this space” for developments, but I think you’ll see the changes throughout our systems.