Give a little time…

Head of an international educational publishing house, school trustee and father of two – unLTD’s Brogan Maguire sat down for lunch with Twinkl COO David Angrave to discuss inspiring the next generation.

Sometimes I think I lead quite a busy life, until I meet people like David Angrave and I really start to understand what the word ‘busy’ means.

Not only is David COO of a multi-million-pound educational publishing house, he’s a trustee at Mercia Learning Trust, sits on various regional and national business boards and fits all of that around parenting a teenage girl and a baby boy.

But, he assured me, he wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

He said: “I feel so lucky to be able to have such a big part in shaping the future of our children and making sure they have every opportunity available to them.

“I come from a family of educators and a very educational background, so it’s no surprise that it’s something I feel very strongly about. Everybody can trace some element of their life back to a great educator and I want to make sure we can do that for the next generation.”

Although being a trustee is a voluntary role – as is being a governor – it is one of David’s highest priorities.

One of the keys to a great group of school governors or trustees is representation, he says, as children need to be able to recognise themselves in the people they look up to.

With people from all different sectors, economic backgrounds, races, genders and religions, children will be able to see that every route is available to them and nothing is stopping them from achieving their dreams.

“I’ve had people tell me before that they couldn’t be a governor or a trustee because they don’t fit the ‘profile’ for it and that is just absolutely not the case,” David said. “There is no profile.

“Our children need to be as represented as possible and if we are only exposing them to one type of person then we are letting them down. We have all achieved great things, we all have our own successes, our own talents and our own stories to bring to the table.”

As part of his role with the Mercia Learning Trust, David sits on numerous committees and boards, as well as attending careers events, having input in the curriculum and getting to know the students and their needs.

And the beauty of being a trustee or school governor is that people can be as involved as much, or as little, as they want.

David said: “Lots of people tell me they don’t have time to be a school governor or a trustee, or that they think it’s too much of a commitment, but these roles are just so flexible.

“It can be as little as the odd meeting here and there, or you can choose to get more involved if it’s something you feel passionate about and your schedule allows you to do so.

“We need such a range of skills and opinions and experiences to make sure the educational experience our schools can offer is the absolute best, so we welcome any and all involvement.

“Being involved with these amazing education providers is one of the most valuable and rewarding things I have ever done and I would encourage anyone else to do the same.”

To find out more about Mercia Learning Trust, visit: www.merciatrust.co.uk

Warming autumn treats at Blend Kitchen

There are lots of things I like about Blend Kitchen, but one of the things I think is most worth shouting about is the fantastic story behind it.

Blend Kitchen is a social enterprise, providing structured hospitality training and paid work experience to people who have been marginalised by a lack of access to rights, resources and opportunities.

Nestled beneath Twinkl’s head office at Ward’s Exchange on Ecclesall Road, it felt only right to have my lunch date with David there.

Not only is the not-for-profit restaurant and event space a great concept, but the food is also amazing.

As well as an all-day brunch menu filled with classics like eggs Benedict and bacon sandwiches, the eatery also offers a cuisine of the month – which was Mexican when we visited – and a range of specials.

Fancying something light that would sit well with my after-work gym session, I opted for the scrambled eggs and cured salmon, served on toasted bloomer bread.

The toast was the perfect balance of soft and crunchy, topped with salty butter and eggs that were just the right consistency.

The salmon, which is cured in-house, was peppery, fresh and the ideal accompaniment to the rest of the meal.

It was the best pre-gym lunch I could have asked for, filling me up for the rest of the day without leaving me feeling stodgy or bloated, and keeping my protein levels nice and high.

David went for the Twinkl special of the day, a lamb curry served with rice.

He said it was the perfect comfort food for a chilly autumn day – hearty, warm and packed full of flavour.

What’s more, the prices at Blend Kitchen are extremely reasonable, with the curry costing just £2!

There are also lots of options for private hire, whether that be for a business meeting or private party, and the Christmas menu has now launched from just £20 per person.

With pretty low-lighting, friendly staff and food this good, there’s no reason why Blend Kitchen shouldn’t be top of the list for your next lunch meeting.

For any enquiries contact Justin Rowntree 07983 518060 or justin@sweetspot.life