Published on 20 July 2021

A chat with Anna Palmer, Senior Practitioner at our Sensory Toy Library

As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, we’ve been speaking to some of our wonderful staff about their achievements and experiences with us.

This time, we spoke with Anna Palmer, Volunteer Co-ordinator and Senior Practitioner at our Sensory Toy Library, who has provided children, young people and families with invaluable support during her 22 year with Ormiston Families.

Ormiston Families has reached 40 years of outstanding service this year – how many of these years have you been involved with the charity?

Since 1999! I was the chairperson of my local toddler’s group in Doddington when Sure Start came to Fenland, and I started volunteering for one of Ormiston’s services which was then called Families Matter, then became employed in 2002.

What does your role involve and how has it changed over the years?

So currently I provide finance support for Small Steps Together, I’m a Volunteer Co-ordinator for Small Steps Together and I run the Sensory Toy Library in Fenland. My role has changed massively over the years – but at the moment I’m really enjoying the challenge of developing the Toy Library. My days are always varied, and I feel we are doing our best to support families in the area.

What is it that makes working at Ormiston Families so special?

The most rewarding part of the job is when you get to help a parent that simply feels stuck. Even if someone that needs help won’t necessarily find it with one of our services, we have built up great partnership working with other organisations, so we can always point people in the right direction and sometimes that is all a struggling parent needs. We want to make sure that people don’t feel alone. I never feel my job is never boring! I’m never just working on one thing at a time, which I love.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve been a part of during your time at Ormiston Families?

The organisation has changed hugely since I first joined, and in a really positive way. Ormiston Families has continued to help so many people with a huge range of services over the years, and the organisation has become so much more professional and focused which I feel give us a much better overall profile.

What are some of your standout memories from your time working at Ormiston Families?

I’m loving the challenge of Toy Library at the moment and working with some great volunteers too, but one of my standout memories was setting up the Children’s Centres in Chatteris, March and then later in Whittlesey. The team were a great bunch of people and we worked fantastically together, lead by a very supportive manager – it was a really proud moment when we got that up and running, and I have lots of lovely memories of that time.

What do you think Ormiston Families can achieve in the next ten years?

Hopefully, we’re able to develop and expand the projects we’re running now, and to support even more families in the East. Our funders and donators are so important to what we do, so I hope that we can gather even more support over the next few years.