I wake grudgingly at 6.30am, shower, change and hot foot it to the station. I have a long commute in to London, so I normally eat a porridge breakfast on the train and catch up on emails. I get in to the office at about 8.30am and check twitter for what is going on in the craft world. Mornings are often spent catching up with the team.
We are a small charity but we pack a big punch due to our energetic team and enthusiastic trustees. The trust provides grants to craftspeople working in Britain. We fund the training of people of all ages and backgrounds. We have funded training for more than 350 craftspeople during our 25 years of operation, including luthiers, blacksmiths, milliners, stonemasons and conservators. Some of the more unusual ones have been a beekeeper, a cob builder and wine maker. We have craftspeople working in the North West, including a wall painting conservator in Cheshire.
During application time, myself and the applications administrator will monitor the applications coming in and assign them to our assessors, who have the unenviable task of whittling down the numbers. This can be pretty time consuming, so we don’t often get the chance to have a proper lunch break which I do think is incredibly unhealthy.
Normally, I’ll grab a salad from Pret a Manger (not very inspired!). Afternoons are normally taken up by meetings. As we’re dependent on the support of funders, this will often be with a Royal Warrant holding company (our main benefactors) or another charitable trust. We try to ensure our scholars and apprentices are able to showcase their pieces of work at as many events as possible and I am often invited to such exhibitions or events in the evening. If not, I trundle home and cook something vaguely healthy like Thai chicken curry, dissect the day with my husband and then we’ll watch something non taxing like ‘New Girl’ before bed.
Dress: I dress smartly most of the time as I’m in and out of meetings.
What is the favourite part of your job? Being surrounded by talent. I cannot make anything myself but I find inspiration and fulfilment from meeting makers, as they are so passionate and skilled.
What is the least favourite part of your job? Turning down worthy applicants. We are only able to fund about 10%, which can be heart breaking. Some particularly determined applicants apply a few times before they get funding!
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now? I originally trained as an actress and belonged to Chester Youth Theatre) but I found living hand to mouth too hard. I’d do anything (probably even sell my soul) to be able to have a go on Strictly Come Dancing.
How do you relax when you are not working? I’ve just planned our wedding, so there was no down time for about nine months. Now we’ve tied the knot, I’m looking for amateur dramatics to fill my time again. I am often up in Chester visiting my brother’s family and sister’s family. I really enjoy a good shop in Chester too. It’s so compact, it makes it so easy. Too easy!
What is your favourite film? Life is Beautiful
What is your favourite book? Juno & Juliet by Julian Gough - an adult fairy tale that made me want to visit Galway
What is your favourite song? Alive by Pearl Jam – the soundtrack to my teens. As Christmas is coming I’m also looking forward to hearing Fairytale of New York by The Pogues.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? My colleague suggested Sally Bretton (inset) from Not Going Out.
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet? I used to be a regular extra on Hollyoaks!
●Name: Lyanne Nicholl
●Job: Executive director at the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST)
●Education: Bishop Heber High School, Malpas; Bretton Hall, Leeds
●Family: Just married to Richard Nicholl
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