Rosey Oakes joined our Fundraising Team in July, taking on the role of Community Fundraising Manager; supporting individuals, groups and local businesses with their incredible fundraising efforts – from bake sales, to 575km bike rides! We grilled her on her background, what she loves about fundraising and what she’d like to say to all of Rowcroft’s fundraisers, given the chance.
Tell us a little about your background?
I've come to Rowcroft after nearly four years at the Devon Air Ambulance as their Volunteer Manager, and shorter stints as Community Fundraising Manager at both the RNLI and Dame Hannah Rogers Trust. Over my whole career I've had a myriad of roles, from Researcher and Radio Production Assistant at the BBC (a long time ago when they still used reel to reel tapes!) a stint as PR officer at a secondary school and for a while I was a freelance Corporate Video producer. In all of my previous roles communication has been a vital skill, and I hope that's one of the strengths I bring with me.
Why were you interested in the role of Community Fundraising Manager at Rowcroft Hospice?
I really wanted to work for a local charity rather than an impersonal national organisation, and it sounded like a really interesting, varied role. Rowcroft is really well known in the area, with a great reputation, and everyone I meet has a story to tell me about a friend or relative who's been helped by one of our teams. Being based at Rainbow House is a real bonus as the grounds are so beautiful - there are squirrels, foxes, jays and woodpeckers frolicking outside my window, the plants and trees are spectacular and in the distance I can see the sea! It can be quite hard to concentrate!
What do you enjoy about fundraising?
The best bit is that every day is different! I meet so many people in so many walks of life and I really enjoy learning about them. I'm constantly humbled by the amount people do for us - from volunteering their time or donating money or services; you really get to see the good side of humanity.
Can you identify any trends in the type of fundraising people are doing for us at the moment?
More and more companies are offering support to charities as a way of giving something back to the community, and I'm enjoying working with local businesses. There are many ways for them to get involved - from getting teams together for our Sleepwalk or Colour Rush, taking part in our Festive Friday or Big Bake campaigns or simply doing our lottery or having a collecting tin. There are some braver employees who take part in Skydives or adventure challenges like our London-Paris cycle or our Swedish Canoeing expedition. We can help companies make their fundraising a success by providing everything they need from balloons and bunting to tips on how to smash their targets, as well as moral support and PR opportunities.
What is the most unusual thing you've heard someone do, while you've been here, to raise funds for Rowcroft?
We've got fundraisers all over the area - and all of them make a huge difference to us and are equally important; whether they're holding a small coffee morning or a huge gala dinner.
Last month we had a team of four cyclists who rode the 575km from The Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, raising a huge amount of money for us. It must have been a really exciting ride; with five full days, cycling through steep climbs, deserts, and national parks - but what a challenge!
What would you like to say to all of Rowcroft's community fundraisers - if you had them altogether in one room?
I'd love to let them know how much their donations are valued. Saying ‘Thank You’ never seems enough when people have spent weeks planning a garden party or training for a marathon. Cake stalls and craft events take a lot of organising and preparation, and persuading friends or colleagues to cough up sponsor money can be a chore too! I would love to say to each and every one that they are making a difference, and that it's only because of their hard work that we're able to support so many patients and their families in the region.
What do you hope to achieve while you're here?
I'm hoping to continue raising awareness of what we do. It's so interesting when I'm out and about chatting to people and they say ‘I didn't know you had a lottery’ or ‘I didn't realise that care is free for the patient’ or ‘I had no idea you had to raise so much money!’ A lot of people are unaware that we care for three quarters of our patients in their own homes. It's my job to make sure people know who we are, what we do and how they can help us to do it!
What do you do to relax in your free time?
I love to walk on Dartmoor - especially at this time of year when the colours are so vibrant. I've just taken up running and recently and took part in the Dornafield Ladies 10k; I surprised myself by enjoying it! I absolutely adore reading and can get through a whole book in a single bubble bath - as long as I can top up the hot water!