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  • Chris Hood

Employee Spotlight - Meet Chris

My role as a Client Advisor with S3 Solutions started in August 2018. Here’s what I’ve been up to as I approach my first six months in the job!

Roles and Responsibilities:

As a Client Advisor I have been responsible for managing a portfolio of clients. My clients consist of a range of groups within the third sector, including national governing bodies, sports clubs, charitable organisations and foundations. My key role involves providing regular support to each client to help them achieve their strategic objectives. This can come in the form of completing funding applications, strategic planning, company incorporation, policy and governance support, club accreditation, gift aid and much more!

As with the range of duties required in a not-for-profit organisation, the role of hard-working volunteers can carry a heavy workload so it is important within my role to be able to support each client through an agreed and prioritised workplan that shows a clear support pathway.

Experience to date:

My experience in the role so far has fast-paced but highly rewarding! I have gained vast experience in a short space of time across a number of key areas – each week has involved exploring new sources of grant aid and understanding how different forms of organisation operate legally. The first few months involved establishing contact with each client through face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and emails. My clients are based across Belfast, Newry, Armagh, Omagh and Derry so initially I was out of the office on a number of days each week getting a great insight into how and where each client’s key activities take place!

Why S3?

My previous experience working for not-for-profit organisations in sport provided me with key awareness as to the important role of volunteers in the third sector. My own role as a volunteer football coach has also helped me in recent years realise the need for support towards achieving overall objectives. As such, when the opportunity came around to be able to directly support volunteers and their organisations I knew it was a potential career role that I did not want to miss out on!

As a sports graduate, I knew the role would also compliment the learning I have gained in aspects of sports development and sports management. It’s been great so far to be able to put this learning into real-life practice and contribute towards achieving positive social change within the community and voluntary sector!

What do you enjoy about S3?

I have really enjoyed establishing and developing ongoing relationships with clients. Some clients are smaller community level groups, while others are larger regional charities - the diversity among the range of clients I manage can be challenging but keeps things interesting!

Particularly during my first few months, the fast-paced nature of the role was difficult at times. However the support within the office has been great and each of my colleagues have been at hand to assist with any queries I’ve had. Within the Core Retained Service we all share ideas and knowledge so there’s a real team spirit internally.

The craic! There aren’t too many dull moments in the office. Each day is often filled with interesting debates and stories… coupled with some not so interesting jokes.

Biggest highlight

Since I have started my role I have been fortunate to be able assist in securing funding for a range of my clients, which has been highly rewarding and provides ongoing motivation throughout the year. A key highlight has involved securing around £7,500 for a client to deliver a cross-community project within their local community. It’s great to know that this funding will provide an enjoyable and educational experience for a group of young people.

Another key highlight has been in supporting a client to complete the process of setting up a Community Interest Company. Knowing that the organisation had successfully gained official incorporation was very rewarding, especially in that the hard work in completing the process has supported an individual towards achieving their own personal career ambitions.

What’s next?

I still feel that I have plenty to learn, with lots of new areas within the company to explore! Working towards my first full year in the job, I am hoping to continue to build on the positive relationship established with my new clients. An area of focus for me will be to develop my knowledge in research and evaluation strategies, hoping that this can enhance the services offered to my existing client portfolio. Longer term, I am keen to grow within the company and involve myself in areas of work covered within S3’s Consultancy Service.

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