Egg Cameron, the enigmatic and inspirational founder of York charity Move the Masses has moved on to a new role in Cheshire. Move the Masses have issued a news release (in full below), but I wanted to say a few words first.
I first met Egg when she’d just arrived in York, we sat and had a coffee at Rowntree Park cafe, introduced by a mutual friend Bec Horner. I was instantly blown away by Egg’s dynamism. She epitomises a social entrepreneur – passionate, dedicated, empathetic and focussed.
We’ve all had the pleasure of watching Move the Masses flourish from a seed of an idea all those years ago, to a serious movement and major player in the city – all in a relatively short space of time. And whilst Egg has had amazing support from a team of awe-inspiring volunteers (remember them delivering thousands of prescriptions on bikes through the pandemic?), I firmly believe that all of these people were there, and continue to be, because they are inspired by Egg.
So, thank you Egg for inspiring me and countless others. Thank you for innovating, taking risks and always asking ‘why not?’. And thank you for working tirelessly for people in York who are marginalised, isolated or vulnerable. Wishing you all the very best for the future.
From Move Mates website
As our Founder and CEO Egg moves on, she reflects on setting up Move the Masses
From setting up Move the Masses to rolling out Move Mates projects, with a huge dose of movement and fun in between! We asked Egg to share the journey…
What inspired you to start Move the Masses?
I just have this overwhelming urge and passion to help more people to get active. Getting outdoors in the fresh air and moving my body and connecting with others brings me so much happiness, and I wanted to show as many people as possible that moving more and getting outside more will definitely make them happier too!
It all started by having a few ideas on how to make movement fun and accessible for everybody. At the start, I was especially focused on supporting those who couldn’t easily access exercise opportunities they had to pay for, or had other barriers in getting active.
I shared some of my ideas with the bundle of energy that is Bec Horner, which led to conversations with movers and shakers within the York community about how to make this vision a reality. I have to give a big shout out to Bec, who went on to become one of our founding trustees. She was the key catalyst who made me believe I could do it and really inspired me to take action.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I faced wasn’t in getting the charity set up, but in expanding it from being a small local project into something more structured and financially sustainable, something that could grow.
We knew we had something that was working well in York and it was a case of trialling and testing ways we could replicate the model into something that could be applied anywhere.
As we grew quickly, we needed to ensure we could demonstrate our impact too. Helen Carr’s invaluable work in developing our impact and evaluation measures was so important for securing funding and support.
The other big challenge has been managing all the data and admin in a small charity setting. Rob Collins (our chief tech volunteer) has been instrumental in developing and building a Customer Relationship Management system for us which has future-proofed the growth of Move Mates and provided us with this incredible, bespoke platform that we would never have been in a position to buy.
What are you most proud of?
There are so many things! Looking back, I’m really proud of the rapid response we made to the initial Covid-19 lockdown. Alongside Helen Carr – and with the enthusiastic support of our amazing volunteers – we transformed our projects in a matter of days and were out there taking action and supporting people straight away. It was so stressful and so busy, but it was worth it as it gave us a great platform to step up from afterwards and we saw rapid growth from the end of 2020 into 2021.
Tell us about your favourite memories
My favourite Move the Masses memories are the fundraising events; whether it was the Spring Challenge or the 12ks of Christmas, seeing the volunteer community coming together, doing silly things to raise money fills me with joy and I absolutely loved seeing everyone getting involved.
On a daily basis, I’ve loved seeing the stream of positive quotes and pictures from our volunteers, which the staff team share in our comms channel. I’m really going to miss this, it’s just a near-constant good news story and you can always dip in to cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day!
What are your hopes for the future of Move the Masses?
It’s in a great place right now and my hope is that the Move Mates project continues to grow and expand across the whole of the North East and Yorkshire. I know it has the potential to be a national project. I’d love nothing more than anyone in the country being able to pick up the phone and request a walking buddy and for us to be able to provide it.
I’m leaving knowing that I’ve built a strong foundation for the charity and that there is so much scope for future projects. I’d love to see the project portfolio continue to expand and that Move the Masses can support anyone, anywhere to get involved and get moving.
What’s next for you?Looking forward personally, there’s no doubt I’ll be chucking all my energy and enthusiasm to help people be physically active. My joy and passion for all things movement means it’ll definitely play a part in my future projects!
I’ll be reconnecting with physical activity delivery, escaping the desk and the screen for a bit and probably running up quite a few mountains.