• IFRF says “farewell” to Lucy Straker…

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      Philip Sharman

      IFRF Director

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later given Lucy’s skillset and reputation… but I’m sad to say that our much-respected Admin and Comms Coordinator, Lucy Straker, is leaving us for a new challenge.

Actually, that statement is a bit inaccurate on two counts:  Firstly, she technically left our employment back at the beginning of April just after we started our first ‘Lockdown’ in the UK, and, secondly, she actually went back to her previous employer – NAVCA (the national membership body for local voluntary sector support organisations) – from whom I poached her back in 2017 (OK, fair’s fair!).

Fortunately for us, Lucy has been willing to support IFRF on a very part-time contract basis since April, but this has to come to an end in the New Year as her NAVCA workload is enormous (as you can imagine in the current situation with COVID-19).

Lucy joined us in the May of 2017, and Matthew Billson and I knew from just seeing her CV (and before we even interviewed her) that she was exactly what we were looking for…

In the 3.5 years that she has worked with us, Lucy has worked wonders with our ‘communications’ – single-handedly transforming Monday Night Mail from its rather dowdy, inflexible, emailed Word-file format, to its current, all-device-friendly, MailChimp format, and our ‘old-school’, legacy, creaking website into a fresh-looking, user-friendly, jam-packed-full, modern, searchable website…  She has been ‘point’ for communicating with our nine ‘National Committees’, and creating a esprit de corps in our ‘Associated Members Group’.

Likewise, with our ‘administration’ she has transformed how we do things, introducing ‘infographics’ into our quarterly and annual reporting, establishing a suite of fit-for-purpose ‘policy’ documents and procedures, and keeping our finances in order through some rather difficult times.  And then there was our ‘IFRF at 70’ activities and our highly-successful ‘IFRF 2018’ conference in Sheffield – both of which Lucy was at the heart of.

I thought I’d ask Lucy three short questions…

So, Lucy, what was your most enjoyable activity or time in IFRF?
“Strangely enough it was the planning and hosting of the IFRF 2018 conference in Sheffield, UK. It was a massive event to plan and execute and took a lot of time and energy but it was great to see so many people from so many corners of the world coming together in one place (imagine that!). It was also great to meet so many of the IFRF members who normally I just communicate with via email or something similar.”

What was your most challenging task?
“Well you might copy my answer from the first question! But actually I think in some corners it was bringing elements of the IFRF membership round to engaging more on social media. I didn’t fully achieve this in my time – but I think I encouraged (dragged?) many of you out there into my way of thinking.”

And what do you ‘take away’ from your time with us?
“When I first joined IFRF in 2017, I had taken quite a few career knocks in a short space of time. However with the help and support of Philip Sharman, Matthew Billson, Sébastien Caillat etc. I have regained my confidence and self-belief and feel ready to take on this new challenge that was offered to me. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at IFRF, have met some lovely people along the way and will always look back fondly on these times. And I may be leaving but I am not gone! For anyone still wanting to keep in touch I can be found on any of the following platforms – Twitter @Lucy_NAVCA, LinkedIn and email lucy.straker@navca.org.uk. Feel free to pick my brains or just have a chat! Thanks again!”

So, to our dear friend Lucy, I speak for all of us when I say a BIG “thank you”!  We wish you all the very best in your (not-so-new) role as Policy and Communications Manager at NAVCA, and we charge you with the task of spreading the word about safe, cost-effective and environmentally acceptable combustion to all those that you meet!  Bon voyage (until we poach you back from NAVCA again!!).