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How a bad time can be the right time

How a bad time can be the right time

At Snowline, we are about to launch a new initiative, @One. Originally, like all good ideas it started with one idea and grew into something else. We have been working in the charity sector for a very long time, and in that time, we have created quite a few projects and programme ideas, some of them have been quite sizeable, but big or small, all have had some sense of innovation. Interestingly though, they all start the same way, with a question; “What can we do?”.

Moving from the idea of wanting to do something, to actually taking action is quite a step. In some ways, this was a different step for us. We have always been motivated by social justice, and making a difference in achieving a fairer world has long been the “why” our actions have been rooted in. Wanting to “do something” was the why we got involved in working with Dalits and other lower caste groups in Nepal, it was why we started working with children in adult prisons in Malawi, and why we started a project to help children trafficked into the sex trade in Africa.

@One was not rooted in social justice but in wanting to give something back to those who were giving so much of themselves.

The idea for @One was started by the weekly applause for key workers during the early days of the Covid pandemic. We had been feeling indebted to ordinary people putting their lives on the line to help other people stricken with this new disease. People who already had difficult jobs, suddenly had dangerous and difficult jobs, and were dying. We asked ourselves “what can we do?”. We thought about our skills and experience and set about converting our idea into action.

A lot of blank paper exploration resulted in us really giving new shape and structure to our “Dynamic Balance” model, and tying in our themes of Meaning & Purpose, and Adventure & Philanthropy into a new and coherent structure. An idea grounded in Taoism; “doing without doing”. Spending reflective time in nature to realign ourselves.

Originally designed to support people through unsustainable pressures of work in the pandemic, it quickly became apparent that there were many others who were living with unsustainable workloads in many walks of life, and we were a little surprised to find piloting the idea just naturally happened with ordinary people who needed to press pause and take a breath.

Of course, the programme is still aimed at people who are giving so much of themselves, but we also recognise that almost everybody can benefit from time out in nature to reflect and take stock of where they are today, and where it is they want to be tomorrow.

This is not the place for a detailed description of the programme, but one of the things we like best about this idea is that it is a journey that staff and participants take together. We never quite know where it is going to lead, and that keeps us all fresh and engaged. In many ways it is what makes @One so exciting.

So, started as a Covid response; an idea that came at what was undoubtedly a bad time for almost all of us, this became a good time for us to re-think, to re-set, and take the steps we needed to take to further develop some of the ideas we had been gently testing out. The pandemic, quite simply the most challenging time we had faced in our careers, became the catalyst for the development of a new set of ideas which are leading us in a new direction.


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