I joined in spring 2000. We were in a Portakabin and I shared a desk between 3 of us (me, Jill and administrator). I was hardly ever at my desk though. We had a long open room in the Portakabin. It was open all day, people could call in to make a cup of coffee and stay all day. Families used it as a place to hang out. There were six staff. My first day at work was a trip to Ash End Farm. I was responsible for one coach, Jill had the other. All went reasonably well, despite the families not knowing me, until we came to go home and found we had a puncture and had to wait for a replacement coach to come out from Banbury. Of course the joke from then on was that I was jinxed but at least I knew the families quite well by the end of that long day.
TOTS started up after a successful funding bid of Jill’s and Su Scales and I ran it. Michelle ran the after-school-club and playschemes and Jill built up the relationships with Social Care which make us unique as a children’s centre today.
I remember the interview well. I didn’t know this part of town and Neithrop School where we were was tucked away so I did a dummy run on Sunday to find it. It was a group interview – all the candidates together – and lasted all day. The morning was spent interacting with the families. I got down and played. Then there was lunch with the community partners and the individual interviews were in the afternoon. Mine was last. I had never had a panel interview before and was well and truly grilled. I got the job as Deputy Manager on a six month contract with the possibility of an extension if lottery funding was successful and the rest is history!