Charity begins at… Judge

Barnardos_LogoI know, seems unlikely doesn’t it? But this week at Judge Business School (University of Cambridge) is all about children’s charity Barnardo’s. A month ago managers from across the school – including myself – taking part in a management development programme, were first told about an Apprentice-alike team task during which we would compete to raise awareness of, and money for, the charity, and hopefully learn some new things about teamwork and leadership along the way.

A specified constraint of the challenge is that all the money can only be raised on Thursday 25th April. Alan-SugarBusiness school Director (Christoph Loch) will be doing his best Alan Sugar impression in the boardroom the following morning and judge (geddit) the team’s relative performance. Although I don’t think he is going to be firing all the managers in the weakest team, learning that he is looking forward to grilling us when we present to him certainly concentrates the mind!

Despite concerns about already heavy workloads we all sprang into action and began to discuss possible events and schemes. One of the first things our team did was talk to Barnardo’s own Ashley Westpfel to see if he had any advice for us. His main suggestion was that we should play to our strengths and do stuff that we were comfortable with and enjoyed doing. This led us to a shortlist of ideas that we ultimately did not narrow down, deciding instead to have a go at pulling them all off! Gluttons for punishment! We were also intent on utilising social media and raise awareness and funds for Barnardo’s beyond Judge if possible. ]

I should add that it very quickly became clear that I had been blessed with excellent fellow team members – Conrad, Katie, Mari and Natalie – all with different talents, none of whom I had worked closely with before, so if the fundraising achieved nothing else this opportunity for networking alone has proved very fruitful.

april-25As I write we are about to enter the week in which ‘B-Day’ (Barnardo’s Day) the 25th April is hurtling towards us like an angry tornado, however,  apart from a few bits an pieces here and there (and a heck of a lot of baking) I think we’re almost there. This is where you dear reader come in, by helping us with our fundraising activities. They are as follows:

An attempt to break the world record for the largest online quiz (registered with Guinness – fingers crossed that we meet their criteria). This fun image-based 50-question quiz can be taken here:  As well as filling it in and entering yourself, please, please, send the link to your students, academics, friends, family. Anyone really! The prize for the highest score is a rather fine Amazon voucher for £25. You will be nudged to donate on our JustGiving page after completing the quiz.

This is the only activity for which we’re not asking for donations. The idea is that we try to get a video of my son John retweeted around the world in which he is promoting Barnardo’s. John’s journey will be plotted on a map on this site. This activity starts on today (Monday 22nd) so please get involved by tweeting the video link and make sure you follow @Barnardos too.

Our remaining activities are Cambridge-based…

A dash around Cambridge in teams following photographic clues and answering questions all against the clock. Starting at Judge at 6pm and finishing at the Anchor at 7.15pm for restorative food and drink! We have ten teams of four signed up so far and only have spots for 3 more. £20 per team to enter. Link:

During the day on Thursday, our team will be dressing up as pairs of ‘sweet tooth’ fairies (even I may end up wearing fairy wings – such dedication) selling amazing homemade cakes and sweets at the following locations in Cambridge: the Faculty of Education (11am); Homerton College (11:30); CUDO (tbc), the Pitt Building (tbc); the English Faculty Library (11:45); Selwyn College (12:30); and Trinity Hall (13:00).

Also on Thursday, anyone coming to the Information Centre (Library) will be asked to donate when they ask library & information staff for assistance.

believe1Of course it would be very , very nice if our team won, but an even better result would be greater awareness of the important work of Barnardo’s, which includes helping children in the UK living in poverty, prevention of the sexual exploitation of children and supporting children who have difficult lives as carers for their parents. See the Barnardo’s website for more details:

Our team put a website together on which all the Judge teams are promoting their events on, so please go take a look and see what else is going on (however, non-Cambridge readers – the other teams are only offering Cambridge-based events):

One final plea, please retweet our #CJBSbarnardos (CJBS stands for Cambridge Judge Business School) tweets on Thursday!

Many thanks in advance for your help with the fundraising. I will be posting the relevant quiz and donation links here on Thursday morning.


John’s Journey video (please tweet it far and wide!):


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