Sandwell stalwart Janet Ayliffe Passed Away | Tribute by Kate Gordon
Just been told Sandwell stalwart Janet Ayliffe passed away last week. It wld be fair to say Janet was my mentor b4 mentoring was a thing. She took me on as co-manager of the brand new Smethwick CAB. I was 24, my co-worker 23. We were prob the youngest CAB managers around..
we were also among the few BME managers that have existed in the Citizens Advice network ever. It was 1986 -we were young feminist WOC. She told us we had to learn to flutter our eyelashes at ppl in Highways if we wanted a CAB signpost -she knew we were appalled ?..
but she knew how to play the game. In 80’s she pulled the CAB up by its bootstraps, and developed the District from one or two(?) to 5 main bureaux, each registered as a charity in its own right w its own MC. It takes a lot of skill, knowledge +experience to achieve that..
Smethwick had V high turnover of volunteers. She told us this was bcz we were cloning ourselves; we shld recruit ppl not in the jobs market to form a stable core of volunteers ie older ppl; mix w younger vols who wanted to gain experience +skills but who wldn’t stay long..
Basically she was telling us to put our prejudices aside in order to develop the organisation. My experience of her was that she was forthright but fair.
I set tonite aside to write my Xmas cards, and she was on my list. Sadly I won’t be writing that card now. RIP Janet.