Dean City Farm lamb

Skill-UP makes a difference to Deen City Farm

06 April 2018

Deen City Farm is an urban farm in the heart of Merton. It is a place where local people can have fun, learn and increase their wellbeing. But as a small organisation the farm can always benefit from support. Nick Golson, Operations Manager, tells us why he rates Team London’s Skill-UP.

As a small organisation we inevitably have skills gaps - we multitask but can't be experts in all roles. Because of this, we have found Skill-UP to be perfect for our needs. The programme is really tailored and thought out, with modules including finance, social media, communications and HR. I attend as many of them as I can, not only because of the great quality and free training but because the Skill-UP sessions come with the chance to network as well. 

The most recent session I attended was with Citi. It covered the basic accounting and financial procedures that so often cause problems in small charities. It was great escaping the daily grind and focus on a crucial area. The trainers had all prepared well and used the time perfectly, balancing general principles with more detailed scenarios.

Nick Golson Deen City Farm

And on top of the session you’re looked after in the months following! Attendees are given mentors, who follow up on the course and provide further support. Our mentor took a real interest in our project. Not only did he visit us to get a deeper understanding of our work, but he also stood for election to our board of trustees, becoming our Treasurer a few months afterwards. We have now overhauled many of our financial procedures, and we are working together in a way that greatly benefits the farm and all our activities. My confidence and knowledge around this subject has increased and we met and surpassed our initial objectives – this Skill-UP turned out to be the start of a whole new chapter in the farm’s development.

I can’t speak highly enough of Team London’s support for small charities like us. No matter how busy you are, make time for their Skill-Ups. They are unique in providing free high-quality training and follow-up support, and they always make for great networking. Personally, I’d crawl over broken glass to get to them.