King and Community
“For surely a king is first a man. And so it must follow that a king does as all men do: the best he can.” - Cameron Dokey, The Storyteller's Daughter
In May 2006 I watched a programme on TV about the Prince of Wales at work, as the charity he’d created, The Prince’s Trust celebrated its 30th anniversary. I can’t remember exactly what is was that struck me about the programme, but there was something behind the stories of the people that The Prince’s Trust was supporting that I felt a deep and instant connection to.
The following month I was away for the weekend with my friend, Kathryn. We’d been out walking in the lovely countryside around Grassington and were sat in a little coffee shop on a cobbled street in the village centre. I picked up a newspaper that was already there on the table and was leafing through it as I sipped my cup of tea. I wasn’t actively looking for a new job at the time, but there, in the ‘vacancies’ section was a job description for a ‘Relationship Manager’ for The Prince’s Trust. The role would cover West & North Yorkshire and be part of the wider fundraising team for the region. ‘I can’t believe it,’ I said to Kathryn. ‘I only watched a programme about The Prince’s Trust a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d love to work there.’
When I got back home I researched the charity and the role a bit more, before applying and being invited to interview. I was offered the job on the same day and started working at The Prince’s Trust in July of 2006.
There are so many serendipitous moments, both leading up to finding and getting that job and in the years that followed, that made this change of career – into the charity sector, into fundraising, into working directly with communities – not only one of the best decisions I feel I’ve ever made, but looking back, also kind of the only way it could ever have gone. It was my destiny, and I feel like I found my true calling in this work.
Working my way up to Head of Fundraising at The Prince’s Trust was the journey that, in time gave me the skills and confidence to launch my consultancy, work with tens of national charities, hundreds of community groups, then start my own social enterprise.
I was fortunate enough to meet Prince Charles (as he was then) at an event in Barnsley. I remember having to have some training about how to curtsy and how to address him. I was given the task of introducing him to three other people, as he made his way along the line shaking hands with staff and meeting some of the young people from The Prince’s Trust programmes. I was so nervous at the time but it’s an experience I will never forget.
So I thought it would be apt, in the run up to the coronation of King Charles III, to share the information about the celebrations, how to get involved, and how to link into what’s happening in your community. His Majesty not only founded The Prince’s Trust but also The Prince’s Foundation and The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund. He is known to show a keen interest in the environment, rural communities, the built environment, the arts, healthcare and education.
These interests and the involvement of local communities will play a significant part in the Coronation Weekend of events.
The following information is taken from the official website of the King and The Queen Consort - www.royal.uk/coronation
I’ve added some of my own notes and ideas on getting involved.
The Coronation of The King and The Queen Consort will be marked with events across the country and a concert at Windsor Castle.
The Coronation Service
The Coronation of The King and The Queen Consort will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May 2023.
The Service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and will reflect the Monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.
Their Majesties will arrive at Westminster Abbey in procession from Buckingham Palace, known as ‘The King’s Procession’.
After the Service, Their Majesties will return to Buckingham Palace in a larger ceremonial procession, known as ‘The Coronation Procession’. Their Majesties will be joined in this procession by other Members of the Royal Family.
At Buckingham Palace, The King and The Queen Consort, accompanied by Members of the Royal Family, will appear on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events.
The Coronation Concert
On Sunday 7th May 2023, a special Coronation Concert will be staged and broadcast live at Windsor Castle by the BBC and BBC Studios, with several thousand pairs of tickets to be made available via public ballot.
But the two events I really want to focus on are:
The Coronation Big Lunch
The Big Help Out
I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see what was being provided for people to organise something in their own community.
The Coronation Big Lunch
The Coronation Big Lunch, at which neighbours and communities are invited to share food and fun together, will take place across the country, on Sunday 7th May 2023.
How to get involved:
Head to The Big Lunch website for information about attending or organising your own Big Lunch - www.edenprojectcommunities.com/the-big-lunch
Organised by The Eden Project, you can get your ‘Coronation Pack’ or your ‘Big Lunch Pack’ at www.edenprojectcommunities.com
These packs are full of ideas, inspiration, top tips and practical help, such as how to close a road, work with volunteers and apply for funding.
The Big Help Out
On Monday 8th May 2023, members of the public will be invited to take part in The Big Help Out, which will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas.
How to get involved:
Go to The Big Help Out website for details of how to attend or organise your own event - https://thebighelpout.org.uk
Here you can download a free pack with everything you need to organise and run your own event.
Connect with some of the charities & organisations that are involved. These include NSPCC, Cats Protection, Samaritans, RNLI, National Trust & Guide Dogs amongst many, many more. Sign up to volunteer or make a donation.
Do something small but significant in your local community. Pick up some litter, sweep up the leaves, call on an elderly neighbour or donate some unused items to the charity shop.
Read these inspiring stories to get you all fired up to organise something in your own community - https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/inspiring-stories
If you’re looking for funding for your Coronation community event, try the National Lottery Awards for All, or your local Community Foundation.
I’d love to know how you’ll be celebrating the Coronation Weekend, and what’s happening in your community, so feel free to comment below.