A Place Full of Stories
We are delighted to announce that Rotunda Ltd has been awarded Investors in People Gold Status.
This is testament that our vision mission and core values are fully embraced by each and every one of us at Rotunda and they are completely embedded within the culture of the organisation. Thank you to all our staff for your hard work and commitment!Maxine Ennis CEO
Rotunda is delighted to announce that Lloyds Bank Foundation have agreed to Fund Rotunda’s Senior Management Team Development and the strategic growth of the organisation.
The Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales is one of the UK’s leading community grant-makers. An independent registered charity funded by the profits of Lloyds Banking Group as part of the Group’s commitment to Helping Britain Prosper.
The Foundation invests in charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives, and promotes practical approaches to lasting change.
Mark Fallon Blog
My name is Mark and I am a teacher in the Young Persons Education Department here at Rotunda. My curriculum areas include English, Sport and Fitness, Hair and Beauty (stop laughing) PSD and Teacher Training Level 3 and 4.
I was asked by our chief executive Maxine (AKA the Queen) to give a flavour of my experience here at Rotunda. Her requests are not always so straightforward.
Whenever the phone rings and you see she is on the other end you know your day might just get a little complicated. Her requests are legendary for:
- A: Ignoring the laws of time and space (“I need a presentation for the Board of Trustees, you have an hour.”)
- B: Being pretty cool actually (Would one of the kids like to accompany me to a charity event?)
- C: Being bonkers (I will come to that.)
Last week my long- suffering colleague Emma Chandler and I actually had a bust up over who was to answer the phone to her.
Me: “Are you getting that?”
Emma: “Its Max”
Me: “You’re closer and I did the last one”
Emma: “If you get it I’ll do the next two.”
I refused to budge and she reluctantly answered the phone. Maxine asked her if she could construct a pill- box hat, for a publicity event, that resembled the folly. She needed it by the next day!
Therefore, in comparison this was relatively straight- forward. I thought the best way to approach this was through the people. It’s the best way to get to the heart of this place and what it does. Let’s start with the colonel or Ann Marie as she is known. She is our Programme Manager, and my Line Manager (not an enviable task I assure you). “Morning Fallon” she says as I enter the building. I’m ok when she calls me Fallon. It’s when she calls me Mark that I know I’m in trouble.
When you walk in you are greeted by our new admin team Ella and Liam, new additions to the team they are the face of the Rotunda. Ella is teaching Liam how to answer the phone and I stay and listen for a minute as I need a few tips myself in that department. On the way to my office I see one of the volunteers Billy “ Its cold today.” He says. “Look on the Brightside Bill you will enjoy your morning coco all the more!” Billy is a familiar face and a reassuring presence around the place and everyone is fond of him.
Morning lesson in the Young Persons Education Department is English. One of the kids asks me whether ‘founded’ is a word. “Yes it means to establish or originate something. An example would be the mighty Liverpool football club were founded in 1892 by John Holding.” This sets off a long debate as to whether it is actually a word. Even when I take an Oxford Dictionary down from the shelf and point to the word they refuse to listen or acknowledge its existence!
A working lunch, I’m putting a slide show together. Our new teaching assistant Laura is sitting behind me, and she comments how she can’t see the text. “I liked you better when you were quiet.” I said before changing it quickly.
In the afternoon I change lesson at the last minute and organise a debate. One of the students is a big fan of our royal family so with a twinkle in my eye I make that the focus of the debate and put him on the anti- monarchy team. The pained expression on his face was almost unbearable (almost).
After lessons Emma Jensen brings some bigwigs round to show them what we do. I put my best foot backward and let Chandler do all the talking (much to her chagrin.)
I shoot upstairs to make a brew and meet my Geordie mate Claire Powell she’s busy writing a horticulture course and I make her say it 3 times as it sounds comical coming from her mouth. “Haaatacooolcha.” While up there I call in to see my girl Jayne. She is our finance officer and responsible for paying my wages I blow her a big kiss (I know what side my bread is buttered on.)
I also take the opportunity to commiserate with our gardener Terry after Everton’s latest shambolic display. However, I think he doubts my sincerity because he tells me to go away. (Actually, I don’t think I can repeat his exact words.)
When I have had a particularly stressful day I pop into the nursery to see the kids. Sometimes they are the only ones I can get any sense out of. The wonderful Rachel and Joanne warn me not to wind the kids up and have them running round berserk. Then the manager Claire Boyd comes in and tells me to “put some proper pants on Fallon them lycra are just not ok.”
All in all not a bad bunch when you think about it. I guess it is a cool place to work and I get to do some amazing stuff. As I am walking back to my office I can hear Ann Marie ask Ella “Where’s Mark?” Time to make myself scarce I think.
A Day In The Life Of an AEP Student
“Hi Imo”, my teacher Mark greets me as I walk in the building; he has never once called me by my full name. Walking to class I stop and say “Hiya Billy.” to one of the volunteers at the Rotunda, it’s always nice to have a chat to other people “Good morning.” He says back.
So today is Monday and this morning I’ve got Mark. We have PSD and watch a documentary called Three and a Half Minutes, Ten Bullets and this taught us about racism. A young black teenager was murdered for no reason and the film was all about the trial. PSD makes Monday morning a little more bearable!
BREAK TIME! I go down to the Bistro café next door and order myself tea and toast from the lovely Jodie, who is always there to serve delicious food.
Back to class now, there are lots of options for me to choose from as to what I would like to study next. I have the options hair and beauty, sports, business admin, childcare and art. I would like to do business admin as one of my options because when I leave I want to work in the tourism industry and business admin is a big part.
I didn’t really get on with a student at another school. It wasn’t until we both came to the Rotunda at the same time that we became friends. Our classes are only small but we all get on and work well together.
One of my favourite lessons is art. Emma teaches us art on a Thursday and I really enjoy her lessons. Emma is one of my favourite teachers. She had a huge impact on me when I first started at the Rotunda, she was always there to support me and encourage me to work hard.
I really enjoy my time at the Rotunda and I like having Mark as a teacher (well um sometimes.) When it is nearly home time I say to him “Mark can we leave ten minutes early?” he replies “No you can’t!” I try sweetening him up by saying “but we’ve worked really hard can’t we just go five minutes early then, just look at all this work I’ve done” he just stares blankly at me and then turns the other way. So I continue to ask him for the last time as I say “Mark, if we clean up can we leave three minutes early?” he replied “go on, get out, SCRAM!” If I’m honest I think he’s had enough of us for today!
After I’ve finished my time at the rotunda I would like to go to college to study foreign languages, for example French, Spanish and German because I want a career as an airhostess working for British airways.
This rather fine award was presented to us yesterday at the prestigious Landscape Institute awards in London.
We beat some very high-profile competition, but I think the fact that we are so rooted in the local community and are trying so hard to take the garden out into our community via the “Blooming Kirkdale” programme (..and succeeding!) helped our cause considerably.
Thanks to BCA, the landscape architects who designed the gardens and submitted them for consideration, and thanks again to them for taking me to the do!
They are pleased as punch with the award, and I know how hard they worked, not only with the excellent designs but with real hard graft in helping us plant many of the large the trees etc..
This award can only help raise the profile of Rotunda and help us in our future work.
A Day in the Life of a CEO
As every parent with a child or children under the age of 10 would appreciate it starts with the usual school run trauma, which obviously goes from bad to worse when you have forgotten last night’s homework, PE kit or swimming goggles in haste of a promised 9am start! Eventually arriving with a late mark…….our newest recruit Ella Shields welcomes me with a huge smile nodding in the direction of the lounge where my first meeting waits patiently. Ella is Rotunda’s Reception and Social Media Support, recruited through Liverpool City Councils ILM programme, and a total godsend to us oldies who have yet to grasp the benefits of the social media revolution.
Hitting the floor running and yet to have my first cup of coffee it’s in to the Rotunda Café Bistro for us. Helen from the Young Women’s Trust introduces me to their National Professional Young Women’s Coaching Programme. With another great partner on board its back up four flights of stairs in our Georgian building, puffing and panting for air! After 7 years in the job you would think those stairs would get easier, or that I would look like Twiggy by now, but neither could be further from the truth.
As CEO of this wonderful organisation, I am humbled by the daily commitment and dedication of our staff team and proud of all their achievements. Looking out of my window I can see our Nursery Children playing in a garden that should really be in the grounds of some wealthy aristocrat’s mansion. Yet there they are running around in a woodland in the heart of North Liverpool surrounded by Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Twisted Hazel and Alder Trees and various other plants, flowers and foliage that only our Gardner Terry can pronounce; and who has keenly just informed me of our first ‘Oyster Mushroom’.
Like most Community Organisations in Liverpool, you can never predict what the day holds, best laid plans and all that go out the window when the Head of Safeguarding pops her head in and says ‘Have you get a minute?’ obviously the phone call comes to an abrupt end and the conversation begins – this time though its good news, one of our young people has overcome a huge barrier in and we celebrate her achievement – crying and laughing at the same time.
Now I’m being pestered by Ella to produce this BLOG!!!!! And I’m only halfway through my day!
Slimming-world Snack or proper Scouse……decisions, decisions…. Jody another one of our five young ILM recruits serves up the most delicious beef scouse, crusty bread and butter….. so I’ll start my diet tomorrow! (Again)!
Mark our Alt Ed Teacher has just appeared in the office apparently looking for some quiet time………HUMMMM! I’m looking through my office door directly at one of the most talented teachers we have at Rotunda with phenomenal skills and he looks like something from the 80’s wearing headphones and a blue hoody?? Apparently our one and only Ironman is researching the newest technology available for our young people?? I can’t wait for the report to hit my desk!
Last minute planning now with Ann Marie for a presentation over in Saint Helens. Ann Marie as always has covered all bases and eventualities, including me forgetting my presentation pack, I would be lost without her! So here we are Emma, Ann Marie and I 7.20pm traveling through the backroads of our wonderful City Region to land safely at yet another fantastic community organisation with BIG LOCAL PLANS.
Home at last, 9pm and I’m just in time to say goodnight to my little Lilybob Ennis; it’s hard to get the balance right all the time, but we’ll make up for it at the weekend!!!
The Gardens in Autumn
Greetings from the Kirkdale Country Gardens as autumn is waning into winter. We are fortunate to be enjoying a mild season and a lot of the leaves are still gamely hanging onto the trees, but strong winds are forecast and it is only a matter of time...
The gardens keep on giving, though, and we are busy producing lots and lots of new plants. We will literally have thousands. And if you want to take a little bit of the garden home with you, we have over 20 different types of herb available, and lots of shrubs and flowering perennials. A small donation to Jayne’s coffers would be appreciated, but you can be the possessor of some lovely plants. Ring Terry at the Rotunda for more information.
One of jobs we are doing at the moment is spreading manure, but no ordinary manure but Alpaca poo! These creatures are smaller, friendlier, cuter versions of llamas and their poo is the best thing since sliced bread; unless you’re making sandwiches
Alpaca manure has some definite advantages in the garden over cow or horse manure: it is very well digested, doesn’t smell (much!) and can go down any time because it is less astringent. And Graham, a friend of the Rotunda, keeps Alpacas! And last week he fetched us over a hundred sacks of the stuff! We will be putting it all over the gardens. It will improve the texture and drainage of the soil and will put back all the fertility that our very quick growing plants have taken-out this year. One of the advantages of putting it down in Autumn and winter is that by spring when everything starts growing again, it will be fully incorporated into the soil.
He’s bringing us a similar amount after Christmas, so we’ll probably have some to spare!
And while on the subject of Christmas, we’ll be making wreaths etc, so if anyone’s got a bushy conifer, or a leylandii hedge or any attractive evergreen, and you can spare cuttings, branches etc (40cm or above), please fetch some in.
Hello my name is Emily I am 23 years old I was born and raised in Ghana. I moved to Hamburg in Germany at the age of 5 and I have been living there ever since. I like playing basketball, cooking, dancing and spending time with friends. I have been here in Liverpool for 2 weeks no and so far like it here. I hope to learn as much as I can about the Liverpool (English) culture. I will be assisting in the nursery at Rotunda for 2 weeks.
On my first day Clair showed me around the building and introduced me to everybody. Everyone was very friendly and I immediately felt comfortable. My colleges in the nursery were very helpful throughout my first week.
The team asked me if I needed help with anything and suggested things I could do whilst in Liverpool (which I thought was very awesome). They asked me questions about my self which showed me that they were interested in getting to know me as a person and not only all work based. Me and my colleges in the nursery have normal casual conversations which is good because it helps me loosen up.
I didn’t have a hard time connecting with the children. They seemed eager and happy to play with someone one new. (In Germany it took longer to connect with the children)
As present I am doing an apprenticeship I am training to be a school and education nursery assistant. As part of my training I’m doing an internship at rotunda. I mainly support the development by planning activities to enhance the children’s abilities so they develop their potential in all areas, I observe and note down the child’s potential and interests and then lay our activities around these observations to fulfil their needs. We work at the child pace.
Hi everyone, my names Edna Griffiths I work as a volunteer at the Rotunda the reason is that it gives me a get up and go. I’ve volunteered at the Rotunda for five years now and I enjoy every minute of every day here. There is so much you can do as a volunteer, you can help in the garden with Terry & Joe or in the café with Andrea as I do. The Rotunda staff are great to be around they are kind and helpful and they are like family to me. That is why I love volunteering at the Rotunda.
Hi everyone, I am Ella Shields the Reception/ Social Media Assistant here at Rotunda. I’ve worked here for just over 2 months now and absolutely love it here. I am on a ILM position here for 6 months, at our Open Mic Night that we have on, on the last Tuesday of every month the Chief Executive Officer Maxine Ennis told me that I would be staying for 12 months which I was absolutely over the moon about. I love it here and don’t know if I will ever find any were else like it and be so comfortable and happy.
Everyday gets busier & busier and that’s how we like it. We love having loads of people coming to Rotunda for all types of reasons may it be to hire one of our rooms out, it may be to start volunteering for us, taking your child to nursery, coming to join one of our many courses we have on, visiting our Bistro Café to visiting one of our tenants may it be Ladders of life, Young Addaction, Horizon Tiles.
Last week I attended the Networking Social Enterprise Conference with Clair Powell it was great and afterwards we had a lovely 3 course meal at the awards ceremony in the Victorian Warehouse in Manchester it was a fantastic day. Its Halloween week next week and we have a Monster Ball Event on Monday the 31st October we love holding events here so everyone can enjoy the holidays and have fun.