Stories

Camilla Plekker

By 13 April 2021No Comments

I am a registered nurse, working in accident and emergency departments across Scotland.

"My connection with Front Lounge has helped me not get bogged down with the shear intensity of the impact of COVID-19 on daily life."

The experience on the frontline has been harrowing and I could have very easily ended up in a very bad place long term but Front Lounge has given me so many amazing opportunities that have helped me stay on track. I didn’t have the best childhood and growing up didn’t have firm relationships. I really struggled. I stumbled my way through school with no plan, no focus. I had poor relationships with family and for a time Front Lounge was my family. I was doing things I loved. I was focusing on what I wanted to do, and I’ve made so many amazing memories. I’ve also made lifetime friends from it- I’m so thankful for Front Lounge.

I got involved in Front Lounge in 2010. My friend invited me. We were both interested in theatre and she wanted to get me involved because at that point, I was really interested in setting up my own theatre company. It was not long after that that I began to prepare for an international iGNiTE experience in China. So, I went to China, came back and started setting up my theatre company Reality Theatre, and then I co-led two international iGNiTE expeditions to India and South Africa. I was heavily involved in the work that underpinned the establishing of Champions Board, and I helped set up Bringing Up Baby. And there were so many other cool projects. Urban Chillax. Changing Faces of Hilltown. Knocking Harris Down. So many wonderful opportunities. So many memorable experiences. And through it all I was learning.

Front Lounge doesn’t propose projects. Rather the organisation finds out what people want (or need) and then try hard to make that happen. The organisation has really pushed me outside my comfort zone.

"Front Lounge always gave me the support I needed - and gave me a lot of responsibility: if you want to do something you need to do it - no one will do it for you. Front Lounge provides a safe environment to bounce off others, and access to an extensive network of amazing people."

And now it’s my turn to give back. I sit on the Front Lounge board of which I am currently the chair. My role as chair involves establishing good communication within and about the organisation, and I ensure the values of Front Lounge always come first. My role is also to make sure strategic plans are in place, and to ensure that through the Project Leader the board has a strong connection to and understanding of the work we are responsible for in the communities we work in and alongside. It is important to have a full understanding of what Front Lounge aims to do, have good relationships with the board members and be on top of our communications with project partners and funders. I want to create a transparent and committed board focused on good relationships, and I want to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what Front Lounge is doing. I want Front Lounge to have a sustainable future, one that is not wholly dependent on grant income.

We are very fortunate to have a very engaged board. Everyone is available and takes part directly. A majority of the board has benefitted directly form the support and opportunities Front Lounge represents. This insider knowledge is crucial for defending and upholding the values and purpose of the organisation. Our role is to ensure there is the right infrastructure in place to enable the vulnerable people we work with to decide what the organisation’s priorities are and should be.

I absolutely love the people that we work with. I love the human interaction. It helps me remain humble. I honestly feel I’m working with such wonderful people.