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The Charity Commission

If any day should be carved in stone it is this one. Three months into my research and development period and I came up against the Charity Commission. Should I try to register? I went to their website and downloaded all the information. Now I should point out that I'm not one for forms. I know they make the world turn and we all have to deal with them sooner or later, but in my defence, I'm a visual person, I work in the realm of images and ideas. Set before me a stack of paperwork consisting of boxes and columns and I crumple and wither. It was obvious that I needed help. It was one thing having the vision of opening a museum, but institutions run on prescribed lines. Lines that I needed to learn about. I called the Charity Commission but they pointed out that they don't have the facilities to accept visits from dazed and confused potential museum directors, however well meaning. They suggested I call my local council to see who the charity officer was. I live in Hackney, East London. I called and was directed to a woman called Tebussum Rashid. We made an appointment to meet and on a very sunny Friday 9th I set off. I remember that the blossom was out late near me.


I have to say I was a little nervous. Would I have the wherewithal to describe in form-filling speak, what it was I was attempting to do? I went into the meeting with my few scraps of paper, notes scribbled and lot's of Doc Rowe's photographs. I must have rambled for 10 minutes before Tebs stopped me and said, "This is fantastic. Why don't we have anything like this?" From that moment on I knew I had another soldier in the ranks. No, not a Soldier, an Officer, General, Majorette whatever. Here was someone who not only understood what I was trying to do, they instinctively knew why it was important. Tebs, you're name will be writ large in the history of this project. Within a few months she helped me organise every known policy I would need. Constitution policy, Equal Opportunities policy, Financial Management policy, Health & Safety policy, Volunteer policy, Child Protection policy etc etc etc. I learnt more about museum management in those months than I could have believed. How much of it has stayed in the wooly mass that is my head is debatable of course but the main thing is, if anyone asks me what my policy is on a certain subject, I can reach over to a file and brandish a sheaf of papers. I would never have been able to do that without her help and for that I am eternally grateful. Tebs involvement with this project is now integral and I very much hope, long lasting.