Lucy Harding, Chief Operations Officer
What do you do for Dementia Adventure?
I’m the co-founder and COO of DA. This means that I take ultimate responsibility for all the holidays we operate as well as helping govern the organisation, acting as the CEO’s right hand woman!
Do you have any other roles in the organisation?
I manage the Ops team, with our Operations Co-ordinator, Volunteer Co-ordinator and Adventure Leader reporting directly to me. I have quite a bit to do with our volunteers and it makes me enormously proud that we have done nearly 100 holidays and have over 100 volunteers on our books! Having set up Dementia Adventure from scratch, based in our tiny utility room/office and then seen it grow to this rather amazing organisation with all these amazing people, working towards the goal of giving people with dementia and their families more choice and control over their lives, all the while reinforcing the message that getting outdoors is beneficial for all of us, is enormously satisfying.
I have had a part in recruiting most of our staff, and help Caroline, our Head of Ops, with the practical arrangements for running the facilities and other resources we use. I sit on the SMT, and enjoy working with all of our heads of departments to make sure we all work together in an efficient and friendly way. I am known, for my sins, as “helpdesk Harding” and try and solve all manner of technical problems people regularly have.
Do you have any relevant experience, awards, certifications or accreditations?
I did a General Arts degree at Edinburgh University too many years ago to remember, but since I’ve been working on Dementia Adventure I have gained a Cert. HE in Charity and Social Enterprise Management from ARU (a 2 year Uni course) and taken part in the Accelerator programme run by the Young Foundation. I have done open learning courses in Dementia including Understanding and Preventing Dementia with UTAS, as well as a course in little known/rare dementias with UCL. I’ve learnt alot about how dementia is very different for each person that experiences it.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best part of my job is seeing the thank you letters and cards come in – the genuine appreciation we get from our clients, and knowing that we have all worked together to make that happen, really lifts my spirits. I also really enjoy solving really thorny logistical difficulties, like how we are going to get a couple from their home to the right holiday destination for them, using all my powers of persuasion to call in the support of assistance and service providers of all kinds – standing up for people’s right to be taken care of properly, makes me feel good.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I have ever been given was around accepting the things I can’t change, having the courage to change the things I can, and having the wisdom to know the difference – I know it’s corny but sometimes you just have to stop banging your head against brick walls and concentrate your energies on doing what you can – changing our own little part of the world is all we need to do sometimes – although my ambition regularly challenges me there!
Where can we find out more about you?
You can link up with me on Linkedin or just pick up the phone (01245 237548) and have a chat. I love hearing about people’s challenges and seeing if I can solve them.