Blogs2018-11-14T05:08:01+00:00

Published 16/06/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Click edit button to change this text.

6 Things to do this summer that will make a positive change.

Unfortunately, we can’t go back in time and start again. But what we ca do is start again today and write a brand new story. Today can be the start of a whole new future… if you choose to make positive changes and work at them.

Read more

Published 13/06/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

This famous quote from Leonardo Da Vinci could not be closer to the truth. Now I am not saying that I live my life by this quote, sometimes I am my own worst enemy! That does not mean though that I do not agree with it. 75% of the time I apply it and feel so much better for it, however I am only human and old habits die hard!

Read more

Published 01/06/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

How to pick yourself up when life brings you down

There is the kind of pain that leaves you feeling empty, this is usually when you leave something behind, graduating from University and leaving your friends, leaving the workplace for new opportunities or leaving a familiar place for somewhere new.

Read more

Published 26/05/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on pain.

For every amazing thing that happens in life, there is always going to be pain. There is the kind of pain that leaves you feeling empty, this is usually when you leave something behind, graduating from University and leaving your friends, leaving the workplace for new opportunities or leaving a familiar place for somewhere new.

Read more

Published 17/05/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

I don’t want to feel stressed anymore!

Often, when you think it can’t get any worse, it does! But sometimes however hard we try, life just doesn’t give us what we WANT. This is because we often NEED something different to what we want.

Read more

Published 05/05/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Negative thinking, positive life… I doubt it!

The majority of people focus on the negative, not on the positive. “I don’t want to go to work”, “I’m too busy”, “I’m too tired”, etc. Instead of focusing on the negative, have you tried to be positive?

Read more

Published 26/04/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

‘If only’ is a phrase that makes me sad, so I stopped using it.

If only’ This phrase makes me so sad when I hear it. To me it implies regret. Regret is no good for anyone who wants to move forward. You can’t change what has been, only what is happening right now and what is to come, the next page is unwritten and you hold the pen.

Read more

Published 13/04/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Are we missing what is important?

My friend Claire and I went to see a Metallica gig and amazing just does not cover it. The atmosphere, the lighting, the sound, everything just came together that night…

Read more

Published 07/04/2017
Tracey Melvin
Guest blogger

Celebrating Autism – Questions are welcome, judgement is not

April is known as “autism awareness month”. I happen to have an autistic son, and every year I like to share some facts about autism (or ASD as it’s known in the “community”) and invite my friends and family to ask me questions.

Read more

Published 29/03/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Comfort Zones are fine… as long as you are 100% happy

We’ve all heard the phrase comfort zone, people use it all the time, however did you realise that while you live in your comfort zone, nothing ever changes? It’s absolutely fine to live in this way, as long as you are happy.

Read more

Published 15/03/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

I’m just too busy!

I’m just too busy! How often do you use that phrase in a day? Once, twice, fifty, one hundred times? Come on, be honest, we all use it as an excuse!
I certainly did, all the time actually, I was even proud of it, I wore it like a medal!

Read more

Published 07/03/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Let’s have a quick reality check!

A few years ago I was fat, unhealthy and unhappy. There is no way to dress it up, that’s the reality. I was told by my Doctor that I was obese and need to lose weight (I am not sure if a size 16 and 12 stone 3 is obese but I was definitely fat!)…

Read more

Published 28/02/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

When life gets monotonous – heres how to keep going

I spent hours in the local library reading everything from The Chronicles of Narnia to Malory Towers. I also wrote my own stories and poems (I was even published!) and while I had a happy childhood I also had an active imagination and reading and writing was just what I needed to keep my mind occupied…

Read more

Published 21/02/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Important life lessons I’ve learned from breast cancer 

I’ve recently supported a very dear friend of mine through breast cancer. While she is doing really well and hopefully will be in remission when she goes for her review at the end of February, it was really interesting supporting her through this difficult time. I don’t mean interesting in its traditional sense, I mean interesting in the sense of the things we talked about..

Read more

Published 09/02/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Finding Inner Strength (when you need it most)

In my career I have worked with more vulnerable families than I can count. I have worked with people that desperately want to keep their children in the family home and would do anything to make that happen, and others, who no matter what support we offered were just not in a place where they could beat their demons.

If you are going through a stressful or painful time right now it is time to say NO, take back control and make some changes.

Read more

Published 26/01/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Ways to Stay Strong as sometimes life is painful.

A wise man names Heraclitus once said ‘The only constant in life is change’. Sometimes with that change comes stress and pain. It can take away all of your energy and resilience and stop you living a happy, successful and fulfilling life.

If you are going through a stressful or painful time right now it is time to say NO, take back control and make some changes.

Read more

Published 19/01/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

I was stuck in a rut once as well… Not anymore!

‘I don’t know what to do.’  ‘I’m in a rut.’  ‘I feel stuck.’ Sound familiar? If so, don’t worry, this was me, so I know how you feel. I spent so long feeling lost and not knowing what to do then I read a fantastic article by a Gentleman called Marc Chernoff and I have never looked back. The article helped me so much that I am going to share the advice so hopefully it will help you too! The truth is, the power to move forward no matter what obstacles block your path is within you. You are the master of your own behaviour and if you want to change, you can.

Read more

Published 12/01/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

What else could this mean?

As human being we interpret the truth as we see it to be, this can sometimes lead to misunderstandings, especially if communication is by text or email. What we do naturally is interpret the message that best fits with our understanding. If we asked the question “What else could this mean?” we could avoid lots of misunderstandings when we communicate. By asking ourselves “What else could this mean?” we can learn to re-frame our thoughts and broaden our perspectives.

Read more

Published 06/01/2017
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Making 2017 count! 

Christmas is over, the decorations are packed away for another year and 2017 is here. If you are anything like me, the holiday season will feel like a distant memory already. Most people will have had that feeling of dread on January 3rd, it is time to go back to work… sound familiar! I’ve always felt lucky when I have got up to go to work, so many people are not lucky enough to have careers, or jobs for that matter, and while it is hard to go back after a holiday, feel lucky that you have something to go back to.

Read more

Published 30/12/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Surviving the January blues my way!

The New Year is here, the family time and parties are over, and for many, me included, January feels like an anti-climax following a busy and exciting December. To combat this, I have come up with some great ways to make January that little bit better.

Read more

Published 23/12/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

My guide to surviving Christmas the fun way!

Christmas is approaching again and if you are anything like me you will be frantically putting together Christmas lists; who wants what, how much will it cost, when have I got time to put the tree up, when do I need to post my cards by, the list goes on.

Read more

Published 16/12/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Thinking negatively? Surely we know better!

Unless you have been living in an area with no access to books, TV or the internet for the last five years, you will be more than familiar with the idea that positive thought promotes positive behaviour.

Read more

Published 09/12/2016
George Billings
  Marketing apprentice

TNTA’s apprentice George tells his story.

Hello, I’m George a Digital Marketing Apprentice at The National Training Academy and I’m going to talk about my journey so far, as well as some social media tips that hopefully can help you. I started out as an 18-year-old boy who had no prior job experience within any field but I knew that marketing was a career path I wanted to venture in to. Luckily for me I’ve had the opportunity to do that here.

Read more

Published 02/12/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

I’ve left school, why do i learn?

“I’ve left school, why do I need to learn?” is a question I get asked so many times, and my answer is always the same. We learn every day, without learning we would not engage in or experience life. Learning allows us to develop and deepen skills, increase knowledge, understanding, awareness, values, ideas and feelings

Read more

Published 25/11/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

No, you can’t take a holiday, we’re a community group!

Running a community group is hard, especially when you only have one, maybe two members of staff and often rely on volunteers. So what do you do when one of your staff or volunteers utters those dreaded words ‘I need to take some time off, I have booked a holiday’?  Like me you probably smile, say that’s fine then go into panic mode!!

Read more

Published 18/11/2016
Kallum Wood
Instructional designer
-In

New apprentice Kallum Wood – You’re HIRED!

Just two months ago I was driving to work and feeling a little down. I was on a zero-hour contract and being treated like a low level member of staff, which didn’t motivate me or make me feel valued. I used to dread going in to work. However, it all changed when I managed to secure an apprentice place with The National Training Academy (TNTA).

Read more

Published 11/11/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Growing the message of safeguarding.

On the 11th July 2016 children were failed again. Five girls who were sexually exploited, intimidated and subjected to “appalling violence” in Coventry were at risk for too long, a review has found. There were “a number of occasions” when the girls made current or historic allegations about sexual assaults.

Read more

Published 04/11/2016
Claire Arthur
Check out her Linkedin!

Great quotes to help you through the hard times.

Running a community group can be incredibly rewarding, but it is not without its challenges. Fear not you are not alone there are an estimated 500,000+ trustees in the UK all working incredibly hard to help the organisations they volunteer for.

Read more

Published 21/10/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Funding bids – Hints and tips.

In the voluntary and community sector we are always looking for different funding streams, when funding does become available there are thousands of people just like ourselves going for the same pots of money. While I can’t guarantee that you funding bids will be successful what I can offer you is a few pearls of wisdom that I have picked up along the way. Enjoy!

Read more

Published 14/10/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Life lessons helping you take the next step.

Losing a very dear friend at only 19 years of age came as a huge shock. I was unlucky in that I lost my grandparents very young so this was the first time I had experienced death as an adult. At 21 I graduated from Uni and went to live abroad for a few years, I just felt that life was too short to get bogged down by work and responsibility.

Read more

Published 07/10/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

I am not an imposter.

Growing up I always had an underlying feeling that I was going to be caught out. That sounds like a really weird phrase to use and without an explanation very confusing, but what I mean if I am brutally honest is, I never recognised my skills/talents/things I was good, I just thought I was lucky.

Read more

Published 30/09/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

Do i need to engage with communities? 

When working with communities it is important that you engage with them effectively. People that live in the communities that you serve know their community best. They are your best resource, treat them right and they will be the best asset in your community engagement work that you can have.

Read more

Published 23/09/2016
Rachel Kelsall
Check out her Linkedin!

Marketing plans and tactics.

When advising on marketing planning and tactics, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the “K.I.S.S.” description (Keep It Simple, Stupid). While I subscribe to the concept, it can be odd telling someone to ‘kiss’ and I would never call anyone stupid. It occurred to me the other day that there’s an alternative to this.

Read more

Published 16/09/2016
Claire Arthur
Check out her Linkedin!

I’m not just a volunteer.

“I’m just a volunteer” is a common phrase heard thousands of times over, but there is no just about it. Let’s get ourselves familiar with the facts like how volunteering services deeply impact the overall development of communities

Read more

Published 09/09/2016
Maxine Clark
Check out her Linkedin!

What do we really know about our communities?

We hear a lot in the news about community engagement, ‘let’s involve our communities’, ‘communities are important’ remember the famous saying Mr Cameron ‘we are all in this together’.

Read more

Published 02/09/2016
Claire Arthur
Check out her Linkedin!

An interview with Claire Arthur 

A few weeks ago I turned 41; how quickly the past year has gone!  Turning 40 last year made me reflect on what I had achieved and in turn the kind of person I am.  It was a watershed moment for me, and most people, I suspect, enjoy a period of reflection at key times in their lives.

Read more

Published 26/08/2016
Claire Arthur
Check out her Linkedin!

What does the word ‘community’ mean to you?

I went to collect a prescription today, only to find I’d lost my bank card. I was 7 pence short on the prescription charge and a kind lady behind me said “Don’t worry, here’s the money you need”. In reply the pharmacist assistant said “Don’t worry, it won’t break the bank”.

Read more

Published 19/08/2016
Claire Arthur
Check out her Linkedin!

Developing a volunteer induction program 

According to Communities and Local Government (2011) Citizenship Survey: 2010 – 2011 how many people do you think volunteered formally at least once in that year?… 39% – yes 39% with 25% of these volunteering formally at least once a month. This equates to 16.6 million people in England volunteering formally at least once a year and 10.6 million people in England volunteering formally once a month.

Read more

Published 12/08/2016
Claire Arthur
Check out her Linkedin!

Community groups: The good, bad and the ugly!

Working the voluntary sector for over 12 years now has been an enlightening experience to say the least!  Meeting the most selfless people I could ever hope to meet, is definitely one of my highlights. These are the people seem to have an abundant amount of energy and positive vibes, they just make you feel good being around them.

Read more