This is the photo on my new Defra ID card. Ah well. I'm stuck with it now!
Defra ID card? What's all that about? Well, on Friday, 24/10/08 I gave up the post of Chief Executive of ruralnet|uk to take up a secondment at Defra. I will be working on two things: the implementation of Defra's Third Sector Strategy launched this Monday (3/11/08); and the new Greener Living Fund. The secondment is part-time until Christmas and becomes full time from the New Year. It will be a one-way arrangement. When the secondment finishes I will not return to ruralnet|uk.
This is a real bitter-sweet affair for me. On the one hand I am really looking forward to the Defra secondment which is right up my street: liaison with the Third Sector where I have lots of friends,plus the chance to change people's behaviour in ways that have a positive impact on the environment. Work that will make me feel good.
On the other hand, I did set-up ruralnet|uk and I have really enjoyed working with all the people that make up ruralnet, so moving away is a terrible wrench. However, although the funding environment is really tough, ruralnet|uk is in good shape to cope. It has a great team of people with leading edge skills and ideas and Web 2.0 based services to back this up. I have invested too much to drop my support and enthusiasm for what ruralnet|uk is and what it does. So, I want to be available to continue to offer encouragement and ideas, but on request only and in a non-interfering sort of way!
Thanks are due a whole load of people – too numerous to mention – but let me mention one or two who have allowed me to make this move. My wife and colleague, Jane, who has not been well this year, but has continued to support me in whatever I end up doing; the Trustees of ruralnet|uk who could have made me feel very uncomfortable at my decision to move but have been incredibly supportive; Simon Bland, the founding chairman of ruralnet|uk who has taken on the role of interim CEO while the recruitment of a new CEO gets underway; my colleagues at ruralnet|uk – it's been an honour to work with you (and I've enjoyed it too!).
An official press release will go out from ruralnet|uk on Monday through xPRESS Digest.
Onwards and upwards!
PS: Have you joined the ColaLife Facebook Group yet?