"There's never a typical day in the Birmingham House!"

Meet Birmingham House Manager, Libby

My alarm goes off at...

My alarm goes off around 6am normally. I like to get up and have a coffee before the morning rush kicks in. After dropping my granddaughter at the nursery, I head in for my shift at the House. I’m lucky I only live about 6 miles from the House so my commute isn’t a long one.

How I got my job...

I've always worked in the voluntary sector, and my contract had just ended on a role I loved and I wanted a new challenge. I saw an ad for a Ronald McDonald House Manager in Birmingham. There was little detail, but I was intrigued so applied.

I came for the first interview and I remember falling in love with the Charity. I thought what it did was amazing. The House was beautiful and always had the family’s best interest at the heart of everything. I was hooked! I really wanted this job. As I continued through the recruitment process, I found I wanted to work for the Charity even more. I was so excited when I got the call offering me the job and the rest, as they say, is history!

My typical day...

There's never a typical day in the Birmingham House! Some days you come to work thinking you are going to crack on with a report or the accounts and find that you are in the dayroom making things out of salt dough!

I try and start every shift with a chat to whoever is on duty, not just finding out how the House is, but also how they are and what they have been up to outside of work. Then I check my emails so I can structure my day.

I’m working on a project which looks at staff training. I’m finding it interesting as I get to work with my colleagues from across the whole of Ronald McDonald House Charities UK.

As well as my immediate team, I’m part of the Northern House team. We all work quite closely with each other and have a great bond. It’s great learning about the difference between smaller Houses and Houses in different regions, sharing good practice and supporting each other.

The best part of my job is...

I love everything about my role! It sounds daft, I know, but I do. I love knowing we make a difference, I love that I can go from a serious aspect of my job, like accounts or a meeting, into a party for the families where I have my face painted and dance to 'Baby Shark' (yes that happened and there are videos to prove it!).

I love meeting our supporters and hearing how they have gone about raising funds. My motivation comes from seeing the difference we make every day to the families living with us and also when I see my team taking pride in something they are doing.

My most memorable day/moment at Ronald McDonald House Charities UK was...

Because I have been around so long there are loads of moments!

The moment the importance of our roles really clicked was in the middle of a party for a terminally ill little boy. As a team, we had managed to pull together a birthday party at very short notice. His whole family were there to celebrate with him, Grandad looked at me and thanked me for the memories, and it still makes me feel emotional to this day.

Another would be...We were given a brief to host a tea party and decided to do things a little differently. We managed to get a theatre company to help us. They played the characters from Alice in Wonderland throughout the event. The Queen of Hearts was giving dads a hard time and the kids were loving it, her heart melted though when a little girl went up to her and said: “you’re the Queen of Hearts, I have a special heart too!”. It was fun, it was loud, and gave everyone a break from the normal hospital or work routine.

And finally, when we realised the children couldn’t go to the beach, we decided we would bring it to them! We brought a ton of sand into the dayroom, placed out buckets and spades, hung inflatable seagulls from the ceiling, hired a Punch and Judy man, bought sticks of rock and made cones of chips to eat while sitting in the sand. It was a brilliant day.

I’m so lucky to have a team of people around me who love creating experiences for families as much as I do.

Why do you think Ronald McDonald Houses are important?

I always used to say to people, you may not have a child, but we have all been one! Who did you want when you were poorly or scared? Your parents! Supporting our Charity means you help give that scared child the comfort they crave when they need it most.

We're celebrating the faces of Ronald McDonald House Charities UK

For our 30th anniversary, we're looking back at the families, fundraisers and staff that make our Charity what it is. Join us by reading the stories.

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