Transitioning into 2021 was, as we all know, a step into the unknown. At that point, we were unsure what the country would look like, never mind how StAndEN’s day-to-day operations would run (or if they would run at all). Early 2021 saw a reduction in our services, primarily our staff working remotely but still providing services. As an organisation, we had previously shown our resilience during the uncertainty during 2020. We adapted quickly; it almost became second nature in some respects, augmenting our services, updating policies, and trying to provide support to those most in need. In stark contrast to the beginning of the year, StAndEN has successfully adapted and responded to all challenges (of which there were many) thrown our way.
Moving into the beginning of 2021, we were effectively ‘homeless’. Our base at St Mary’s Place had been closed, and we were without an office. Thankfully the BID St Andrews team came to the rescue and allowed us to manage day-to-day proceedings from their meeting rooms. During this time, our Clean and Green team worked tirelessly throughout the town, ensuring it was kept tidy and clean. Our energy advice team were forced to work remotely once again, with any face-to-face work and events postponed indefinitely. Fast forward 12 months, and our Energy Advisors are still working remotely. Still, their service has been streamlined and all working digitised, resulting in a near paper-free service (something that we have worked towards for years!). Moreover, physical events have resumed, which has been a great relief. One of our highlights was being asked to attend vaccination centres across North East Fife by the NHS. We provided face-to-face advice to hundreds of participants and NHS staff. We were also able to see first-hand the fantastic work these NHS workers were doing.
Some other highlights came throughout the year. Many staff would possibly say meeting rock legends Huey Lewis, and Tico Torres during the Dunhill (who popped down to help out with one of our beach cleans- see video). Or maybe (finally) getting our ‘all-in-one’ van service on the road. I can honestly say my personal highlight would be watching the evolution of the charity from one with limited funding and no premises to one with 10 active environmental projects with legions of unbelievable volunteers and staff. Moreover, we’ve launched a plastic-free shop and now have a premises, much to the delight of our team.
Although we still face uncertainty, the level of support and resulting growth we as a charity have had is astonishing. I wish I could share some notable developments currently in the pipeline, but I’ll save those for a different day. However, I would like to take this opportunity to thank: every volunteer who has worked with us this year; all of our fantastic staff who have endured and overcome more stresses than any one person should have to; our board; every funder; everyone who has made a donation, and to every person who has engaged with our services. We can’t wait to be back in 2022!
From all of us at StAndEN, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a cosy New Year!
Article was written by Gavin.