Pat Samuel FRSA has recently retired from a long career in the Treasury and Cabinet Office. Now with a bit more time on her hands, Pat talks about the projects she has recently volunteered for particularly the mentoring programme at the Lilian Baylis Academy, which she calls one of the best things she has ever got involved with:
1) Please give a brief explanation of what it is you do and why?
I have recently retired from a long career in the Civil Service, in Treasury and Cabinet Office. Last year I was a representative of London on the RSA Fellowship Council but decided not to run for re-election as I prefer to be more involved in the various projects that the RSA is running, like the mentoring programme at the Lilian Baylis Academy, the Public Services 2020 Project and the Social Entrepreneurs Network.
2) Why did you join the Fellowship?
To meet other Fellows and to become more involved in the work of the RSA, especially projects concerned with public service reform, education and young people as these were my main areas of expertise in government.
3) In what capacity do you think you could contribute to society/the Fellowship?
Supporting young people to become more aware of what opportunities are available to them and to promote the role of the third sector and social enterprises in delivering a fairer society.
4) What would you change in society given the chance?
All children should be able to eat properly while in school. I am appalled that many children are not getting a proper breakfast before school because breakfast clubs are finding it hard to secure funding, and that even children who are eligible for free school meals are not always claiming them. It would be great if the RSA could do some work on this and how the system could be improved so that no child misses out on what they need so that they can get the best out of their time at school.
5) What recent bit of news have you heard which inspires you?
That I am going to meet my Lillian Baylis 6th Form student on 2 October. I am really excited to find out all about them, their exam results and what A levels they have chosen.
6) What did you learn last week?
See above regarding school meals and breakfast clubs. Jay Rayner wrote a good article in the Food Monthly magazine of the Observer on Sunday. I also heard from a friend that the Free School Meals programme is not working for all eligible children as it should.
7) Tell us about another interesting Fellow you have spoken to.
I recently met Rosie Chapman, a former colleague who used to work at the Charity Commission. We met at the RSA lunchtime talk last week on progressivism. Rosie has also recently left the Civil Service and she is now running her own consultancy business with which seems to be going well so I was really pleased to hear that. I also had a cup of tea with former MP, Tom Levitt in the Gerard Bar a couple of weeks ago. We caught up since Tom's book launch "Partners for Good", in which I featured very briefly! Tom's book is about business, government and the Third Sector working together more effectively in the economy and society.
8) What would you like to connect with Fellows about? Please tell us if there is anything you would like from other Fellows.
As mentioned already, the Lilian Baylis project "Adopt a Student" is about mentoring the new sixth form intake and helping those students realise their potential by giving them new experiences and exposing them to new places and people that they would otherwise never meet. It is a year long commitment and many RSA Fellows are involved. This is obviously a London based project but there are other RSA Academies in the country, especially the West Midlands and it will be interesting to see if other Academies take up the idea and promote it. It would also be really useful if the RSA could organise for all the Lilian Baylis mentors to meet up sometime, say half way through the year so that we could all share our experiences. This mentoring experience has been the best thing I have done in a long time and I’d encourage other Fellows to get involved.
[Editor's note: if you would like to find out more about mentoring opportunities via Lilian Baylis Academy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.]
You can get in touch in touch with Pat: