11 / 12 / 20
By Hannah Taylor, F&BF Head of Operations
After seven fantastic years at the Faith & Belief Forum, the time has come for me to leave my role as Head of Operations and move on to pastures new.
F&BF is an incredibly special organisation, and it has been a genuine privilege to have worked with such talented people from so many different walks of life, and to play my part in building a world where diversity is celebrated for people of different faiths & beliefs.
When I first joined in 2013, I was given a cactus, which sat on my desk, over the years growing to about five times in size. I would often look at it as a metaphor for how I myself was growing, and the organisation along with it.
We changed our name from 3FF to the Faith & Belief Forum – an outward symbol of our inclusion of people of all faiths and beliefs. We developed new programmes in schools, grew our university work, began new work in community spaces. We set up our first out-of-London operation in Birmingham. We created an equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, launching work on race and faith and, one of the things I’m most proud of, a national programme of LGBT+faith work.
Throughout all of this, and as I moved from Operations Manager to Head of Operations, I kept this mission at heart: create an organisation that models internally the world we are working to create externally.
I worked to create policies, systems and processes that embed and enable our values – it’s impossible to measure but I was touched that in our staff survey last month, 100% of my colleagues said they are proud to work at the Faith & Belief Forum, that we have an inclusive working culture at this charity, and that they feel able to bring their whole selves to work.
This says a lot about the organisation and our people – who work hard, day in day out, bringing passion, detail and expertise to the work that they do, and creating something special.
There are more special things to come for F&BF after I move on. In 2021 the organisation will be looking forward at a post-coronavirus world and building a new strategic plan. New ways of working online are creating opportunities for more people to participate in our programmes, and I’m hopeful that the growth in remote and flexible working forced on the world by the pandemic will embed more inclusive ways of working for more people – including, I’m delighted to announce, a group of young people through our new interfaith kickstarters scheme, supported by the government’s Plan for Jobs, which will launch in the new year.
I do want to say a special thank you to our Director Phil for his leadership over the last five years and for giving me the opportunity to learn so much as his second-in-command. I have every faith in him and our fantastic team who, I know, will continue to take the organisation from strength to strength. My departure creates space in this team for new energy, new ideas, and new people to feed into the next chapter for the organisation through the creation of an expanded senior leadership team, which we will be recruiting in the coming weeks.
I am sad that I won’t be a part of this next chapter, but I know I will be a part of F&BF’s future – because, like I have said to many departing colleagues over the years – we are all part of the F&BF family. Meanwhile, I am excited to be starting a new chapter myself. After many years volunteering (and socialising!) in the LGBT+ sector I am delighted to be joining LGBT+ youth homelessness charity akt as their Assistant Director of People, Performance and Culture. akt does vital work to support LGBT+ young people facing or experiencing homelessness, and I am looking forward to being part of a new team and growing into a new role.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey – please keep in touch.