Meet The Team: Jen Rea
An important member of Newcastle United Foundation’s staff, Jen Rea is one of a number of talented young individuals trying to improve the reach of the foundation throughout the region.
Enjoying her role as Events and Fundraising Coordinator, from the moment you talk to the 25-year-old, you’re struck by her sheer passion for the work she undertakes, and while she admits football may not always be the first thought in her mind, charity clearly is, citing that as her biggest motivation in taking the role.
““I spoke to some people that had experienced it through school – I have a lot of friends who are teachers – and they explained how great it was,” she explained. “But I think it was the charitable side that I wanted to get involved in because I hadn’t really heard of the foundation before I started working here, but I researched it when applying for the job.”
Serving as the Events and Fundraising Coordinator, Jen explains that: “I just want to work somewhere that makes a difference.”
Helping oversee the foundation’s numerous events throughout the year, Jen also makes sure the foundation reaches it’s fundraising targets – which can bring a lot of pressure.
“We have to raise £2million every year, so part of my job is to make sure we hit that target,” she explains. “It is pressurising to know you have to raise that target, but it’s also really rewarding. It’s a great motivator in that sense, to know it’s going to such a really good cause.”
Graduating from nearby Northumbria University in 2010, Jen first joined the foundation in autumn 2013 where she served as a Project Officer working on the Primary Enterprise programme.
Enjoying her role immensely, she then moved into her current position early in 2014 and revealed she was happy to progress in the way she did: “I’ve worked on the other side of things and delivered a project that has been funded by the money that I’m now raising.”
“I’ve worked in marketing and sales before, but being a project officer gives you a really good experience of how the projects make a difference to local people,”
And as she goes onto explain that experience has proven a real benefit when it comes to her current role: “It means when you’re going out there speaking to different funders and different companies you can explain to them how much of a difference it is making as you’ve seen it first hand.”
Having recently celebrated her one year anniversary at the foundation, it’s a move that she is certainly glad she made; in part due to the family atmosphere at the hub of the foundation.
“Everyone is so close, you can go and speak to anyone. We’re all working in completely different roles and we’re all really close, everyone feels very comfortable working together. It’s definitely a family unit at the foundation,” she says with a laugh.
Enjoying the atmosphere she walks into everyday, she has also taken immense pride in the work she does. Reflecting on her time with the foundation, her first event sticks out as a particular highlight.
“One of the most rewarding moments was I planned our celebration event in the summer,” she said.
Admitting she was a tad nervous, she was keen to add that it was a ‘good nervous’, as she strived to produce a memorable event.
“I’m a bit of a perfectionist,” she added. “It was the first event I’d planned which meant it was quite a big deal for me and it was celebrating the season we’d had, all the people that had worked with us and the work we’d done. It was nice that my first event was a celebration.”
And with 2014 rapidly coming to a close, Jen is now firmly focused on 2015 and the milestones she can help push the foundation towards: “My highlight for next year will be our very first Annual Awards Dinner!” she enthuses.
A dinner that will honour both key figures within the club and the wider community with all proceeds will go back to the foundation’s work.
“It’s definitely the thing I’m most excited about,” Jen explains. “There’s a lot of things happening next year, but that’s the biggest thing I’m looking forward to the most.”