Five Minutes With… Our New Finance Manager!

What’s new with the CAE team? Well, we’ve had some staffing changes over the last couple of months! Our previous Finance Manager Sheila had been with us for four years, but moved on to pastures new at the end of November, and so for the last few months we’ve been welcoming a new recruit into the fold – Jo!

Jo has taken over the position of Finance Manager, and her wealth of experience is sure to be a great asset to Creative Arts East. We’ve been getting to know her over the last few months, and hope she’ll enjoy being part of our little CAE family.

Our Communications and Content Assistant Zoe grabbed five minutes with her to learn more…

Can you tell us a bit about your role before you joined the team?

I have had a varied career, working in Banking, Mortgages, the NHS, Social Services and the Education sector. I have also been self-employed. Always in Finance but never in the Arts before. I am enjoying that and working part time.

Do you have an interest in the arts personally? If so, what kind of things do you like?

I am a prolific reader, I like the theatre, ballet, music (classical and modern) and film. I am looking forward to enjoying these things a great deal more now that I have more time on my hands.

What was your dream job as a child and why?

I wanted to do everything at one time or another. I think I settled on being a hairdressing doctor  – so I could make people better while giving them a perm!!

If you could switch jobs with someone in the team, based on your impressions so far, who would it be?

Mmmm. That’s difficult because I love Finance so much. Probably Karen/Elly or Lea as they get out and about so much although it keeps them all far too busy.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role, and in working for Creative Arts East?

Bringing my experience to help the charity achieve value for money and maximising income. But I am also looking forward to working with this team of dedicated people who work so hard to bring art to the area.

Well, there you have it! We hope you’ve enjoyed discovering more about our newest team member, Finance Manager Jo!

If you fancy working with us here at Creative Arts East, helping to bring fantastic arts experiences to rural and culturally under-served communities in the East, why not check out our latest job opportunity? The new post of Touring Development Officer has opened up – check it out here!

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It’s Easy Being Green! CAE’S Top Tips for Environmental Sustainability

Earlier this month, we were contacted by Julie’s Bicycle, a leading charity that supports creative organisations to focus on improving their environmental sustainability, to deliver a talk to their staff and members of Arts Council England on the achievements that we’ve made over the last few years. Julie’s Bicycle was established in 2006, and they partner with Arts Council England to deliver their Environmental Programme to ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs), of which we are one.

Apparently, we are one of their ‘exemplary’ organisations in terms of the strides we had made in reducing our environmental impact from 2015 to 201. Initially, we were surprised about this – even though we have a huge reach across Norfolk and the wider Eastern region in terms of the events and communities we support, we perhaps underestimated the impact our small team could have!

Our Office Manager Julie (of no relation to Julie’s Bicycle, but a happy coincidence!) is the one that takes care of our environmental reporting and has taken up the mantle to make sure we are adhering to ACE’s NPO reporting criteria and hitting our targets. Because of her hard work, being environmentally friendly has become of huge importance to us at CAE, so we thought we’d pass on some of the top tips that we’ve learnt, which might help other organisations be more environmentally friendly. Some of these are bigger changes, but most are completely free and take almost no time at all!

• Change your lighting to energy-efficient bulbs. When our office was refurbished, we changed to energy-efficient overhead tubing, and also did a big audit of unnecessary electrical appliances in the office. This led to a 20% decrease in electricity consumption.

Set yourself a bin bag target! We’ve managed to reduce our black bin bag waste to less than 1 bag a week between our staff of 10, and this has helped us increase recycling by 24%.

Are your radiators as efficient as they can be? To help feel the full impact when we do have the heating on, we’ve bled our radiators and moved cabinets to clear the space around them. This has helped us achieve a 10% decrease in gas consumption.

Encourage your staff to use public transport more! Think – that meeting in the next major town/city along, could you take the train instead of driving? We have reduced our car mileage and increased our train travel by around 35% by encouraging staff to use the train as much as possible for external meetings. We’re really pleased with this achievement, particularly as our promoters are based in rural, often remote locations.

Reuse, reduce, recycle! We use old coffee grinds as compost, recycle packaging that comes in to the office, and try to use electronic communications instead of paper where we can.

Eco-friendly can mean ethical too. We send old electrical equipment to a free service which recycles and refurbishes it to donate to companies, charities, and families without the budget to buy new equipment, and have also switched to ethical and animal cruelty-free hygiene and cleaning products.

As well as all of this, the ethos of our rural touring programmes is by nature environmentally friendly. By delivering arts events in the heart of rural communities, our promoters are also endorsing environmental sustainability because their audiences are not as reliant on car travel to cities and towns further away to access to these experiences. They can walk often as little as yards down the road to witness some truly great live performances, cinema screenings, and creative workshops, and this is something we’re really proud of.

A Warm Welcome to Our New Team Member!

We’ve got some exciting news! Last week, we welcomed a new team member to the organisation – the wonderful Abbie Line! Abbie has come on board in the new role of Touring Scheme Administrator, and will be helping scheme managers Alice and Karen with both CAE Screen, our community cinema scheme, and Live!, our rural touring live performance scheme.

The whole team here at Creative Arts East are thrilled to have Abbie join us, so it’s time for you to find out a bit more about her!

Firstly, welcome to the team, Abbie! Could you tell us a bit about what you were doing before you started working at Creative Arts East?

Thank you, I’m very excited to be part of the team! I studied in Nottingham where I developed an interest in the museum and heritage sector, and more recently in the arts on a wider scale. While I lived in Nottingham I worked as a Freelance Heritage Assistant, and got involved with lots of great projects in local museums. I also started a networking group called East of England Emerging Museum Professionals when I moved over to Norwich which I really enjoy.

What’s your role here at CAE, and what will it involve?

My role is the Touring Scheme Administrator, which means that I will mainly be supporting the exciting community cinema and live performance schemes Screen, LIVE! and Inn Crowd. I will also have the opportunity to get involved with lots of great events, and build relationships with the wonderful promoters and artists who work with CAE.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role with us?

I am really looking forward to getting to know more about the rural communities in and around Norfolk and Suffolk who work with CAE, and those who get involved with lots of the various projects and schemes. It’s great to see how the events being put on are so beneficial to so many people, and I can’t wait to get involved with helping to make it all happen.

If you had to plan a fun day out for the CAE team, where would you take us and why?

I’m a really foody person, so I would plan a trip to somewhere like Cadbury World or find a baking workshop. Judging by the fact that some of the CAE team bring in things they have made I think that would go down well!

And lastly, tell us a fun or perhaps unexpected fact/hobby about yourself!

I have quite a few hobbies really but I love all things creative. I enjoy experimenting with different art forms so I do a lot of painting, sewing and printmaking at home. I also love history (having studied it at uni) and have a slight obsession with the Tudors!

Thanks Abbie! We hope you enjoyed meeting our newest team member, stay tuned for more blog posts coming up over the next few months!

Take a Peek into the CAE Office!

The sun has been shining all over the Eastern region this week, and here at Creative Arts East we’ve been busy prepping for a busy summer ahead! Lost In Translation Circus will be performing in King’s Lynn this August to celebrate 250 Years of Circus; Glass House Dance and musician Les Chappell will be working with the ‘Our Day Out’ participants to create a movement and sound piece inspired by the Norfolk landscape; and we’ll be holding our first Screen Promoters Day since we relaunched and rebranded our community cinema scheme!

We’ll be talking more about all these exciting projects and events soon, but for now, we’d like to give you a glimpse into what goes on during a normal day at the CAE office!

Our Community Touring Manager Karen and Community Touring Assistant Becky were in Worcester this week for the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) Conference – New Directions 2018. The NRTF is an organisation that works with rural touring schemes to help them develop their work in delivering high-quality arts experiences to rural communities, and the annual conference is a great opportunity for other touring schemes to network with one another, and see some brilliant excerpts of new work that they may want to programme in future. We can’t wait to hear from Karen and Becky about how it all went!

Back in our Wymondham office, the rest of us have been getting on with the day-to-day activities that comprise our roles. Our Marketing Design Officer Sophie has been working on a huge 5-metre long banner to promote Lost In Translation’s circus performances in King’s Lynn this August; Project Assistant Lea has been out and about visiting community groups in Dereham to promote our creative workshops for older people; and our Communications and Content Assistant Zoe has been busy tweeting away as usual, and developing a corporate sponsorship strategy! Businesses who want to support a local charity – come on down!

Since we relaunched our cinema scheme as CAE Screen, our Community Cinema Manager Alice has been preparing a new film menu to be launched at the Screen Promoters Day on 11th July, which will include an exciting selection of suggested film titles for our promoting groups. We don’t shout enough about all the hard work our brilliant Office Manager Julie and Finance Manager Sheila do to keep all things admin, logistics, office management and finance ticking over – this week they’ve been reviewing the Risk Register and working on a new internal appraisal process. Oh, and starting to plan our Christmas celebration for December – that’s how organised they are!

Part of our Executive Director Natalie’s role is to safeguard the future of Creative Arts East through funding and development, and it’s these areas she’s been squirreled away in her office working on lately, fuelled by coffee and cake! We’re also one team member down this week, with our Deputy Director Elly currently enjoying the delights of the South of France (although with the weather we’re having this week, we’re hoping to compare tans!).

We do hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into the goings-on inside the CAE team – and do stay tuned for more blogs this Summer about all of the fantastic arts events we’re delivering in rural communities near you!