Around two years ago, I was scrolling through the voluntary jobs on when I came across a position of ‘Advertising Assistant’ for an organization called ‘LEAPS.’ I’d not heard of them before and was surprised to find that when I tried to research them, they had no website or social media. Their bio on said that they were actually named Listening Ear And Positive Support and are a support group for those who are unemployed; and that they were looking for someone who could publicize the group. At that point, I’d been blogging for four years and had attended quite a few events where I’d been in charge of social media so I felt like this position would give me more experience in doing that. 

I remember getting the interview with the Founder and Chairman in Costa in North Shields and I wore a new skirt that ended up being way too short and tight and I could barely cross my legs! The actual interview (obviously) went well because I have a lot of confidence when it comes to talking about my ‘job’ with blogging and social media, so it was quite easy to tell them about my experience and achievements. They told me right there and then that I’d got the job and the excitement began for my first weekly meeting, which all of the Committee Members and group members attend.

We always joke these days about my first meeting with LEAPS and when I pointed out that I’ve been with them for almost two years, our Secretary said; “we didn’t think you’d last two minutes never mind two years!”

Back in 2017, on my first meeting with LEAPS, it became a political discussion with a lot of passionate and opposing opinions. At the time, I wasn’t doing too great with my mental health, so I wasn’t as resilient as I usually am and ended up crying and walking out. The Founder hadn’t actually been at the meeting, so I texted her saying that I quit and accusing her of misleading me on the agenda of the group and its purpose. She reassured me that what had happened wasn’t a regular occurrence for their meetings and encouraged me to return the following week when she would be in too and would ensure it didn’t happen again. I think that even then, I must’ve known that I was meant to work for LEAPS because I think that I usually would have just told her that it didn’t matter at the thought of going back into the group with everyone knowing I’d cried over the last meeting! But I did it! I went back in and was greeted with a ton of apologies and assurances that they didn’t want to come across as bad people. 

Over the past two years, as Advertising Assistant, I’ve created the LEAPS website and Twitter account, been successful in securing grants from the National Lottery Community Fund and R W Mann Trust, arranged two therapeutic trips, coordinated bag packing fundraising with Morrisons, and gotten free publicity through the local newspapers and council’s newsletter.

Getting a new voluntary role with Barnardos meant that I needed to scale back on my commitments and so I, regretfully, handed my notice in at LEAPS. For a few weeks, I’ve been wracking my brains trying to think of something that would help me to stay there because ultimately, I don’t want to leave! With LEAPS being a small organization, it’s very easy to understand that they’ve become a mini family to me. I came up with the idea of becoming Deputy Chair and used our Annual General Meeting to put this idea to the group. Everyone was more than happy until the Chair said…

“Aimee, I’ve had a good run – three years as Chairman… I think you should take over the reins!”

I think my words were “what? As actual Chair?!”

A unanimous vote saw me become Chair of LEAPS!

I have my first meeting tomorrow and I can’t wait to get started and I’m so grateful to the members for storing such trust and faith in me!
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