Setting up a new charity has been a roller coaster ride, so I thought I'd share some of the experience, to help others going through the same process. The first hurdle was the complexity of answering a simple question: what comes first, the bank account or charity registration? We learnt the hard way - if you're establishing a CIO then it's the charity registration, no way round it - and allow PLENTY of time! Finding the right bank account is a minefield - no easy answers or advice there.
But then there are the highs - the day the charity registration number finally comes through and you feel like you're a legitimate organisation or the day you learn that your funding application has been successful. And (this may sound like a strange high, but bear with me) getting your first phone number. I can't commend Sipcentric enough. They have a special deal for charities and we had a new phone number in less than 24 hours of contacting them. Their customer service was exemplary. I knew nothing about online phone systems but they hand held me every step of the way.
Of course, there are other highs and lows along the way, but these are the ones that stand out
Yesterday I spoke at the St Stephens Monday fellowship to a wonderful group about the work of Embracing Age, the intrinsic value of older people and tips for growing older gracefully. I shared a comment one of our trustees made on Sunday: many people see old age as the winter of our lives, a time of barrenness and loss, when the leaves have fallen and the tree is bare.
But actually it is the autumn of our lives, a time of fruitfulness and rich colours.
I left them with a quote from Billy Graham in his 90's:
"Life is seldom easy as we grow older, but old age has its special joys – the joy of time with family and friends, the joy of freedom from responsibilities we once had, the joy of savouring the little things we once overlooked.
But most of all, as we learn to trust every day into His hands, the golden years can be a time of growing closer to Christ. And that is life’s greatest joy”.