Jo’s Freshwater Fever

4th December 2014

Our indispensable Office Manager Jo Fever looks back at the six years and share what is like working with the Freshwater Habitats Trust

In October 2008 I was lucky enough to be hired as the Office Manager of a small charity that I had not heard of before seeing the job advert! Pond Conservation, a small and ambitious charity based in Headington, Oxford.  Having grown up with ponds in my childhood gardens and having done a fairly recent bit of pond renovation on my parent’s pond I thought I knew ponds well.  I didn’t!

From day one I realised this was going to be a taxing role.  After the first hour settling in I was told the offices we currently occupied within Oxford Brookes University had to be vacated, and all our stuff relocated to a new office down the corridor.  By the end of the week please!  With that mini challenge achieved in my first week I progressed with a confident step, until someone called with an inquiry about their pond – then I felt totally out of my depth, and in fact some days still do!

From the first time we went out in the field it was easy to spot me in my cheap tartan red wellies – which have now, six years later, paddled in ponds and streams all over the place, with the occasional stuck-in-mud moment of panic.

Jo on the Thames, at the House of Lords, and pond dipping

Major steps I am proud to have been a part of include the re-brand from Pond Conservation to Freshwater Habitats Trust in 2013, ending in a fabulous launch on a boat on the Thames in London, project launches and events for the Million Ponds Project in a smart London gallery and the House of Lords, also for the Water Friendly Farming Project at the House of Commons, and most recently moving the charity from shared office facilities within a University to its new home in a country house within a beautiful park (perfect for picnics and rounders in the summer).

My role as Office Manager has evolved quite a lot over the six years I have been here and my hats now include Company Secretary, Book Keeping and Accounts Assistant, Facilities Manager, Events Organiser, Communications  Adviser, Webmaster, and General Organiser of Everything! But it’s a bit much to fit onto a business card!  This however is the beauty of small organisations and the variety of the job has meant that, six years in, I am never bored and frequently challenged.