Colin is co-opted after he shone during charity spell

Colin Dennis has been a big hit at Open Secret
Colin Dennis has been a big hit at Open Secret

The film ‘Big’ starring Tom Hanks’ where a boy becomes trapped in a grown-up’s body was the stuff of dreams for a generation in 1986.

In the film the adult is a high-flying executive for a toy company where the youngster’s ideas prove to be hits with board members and sales figures rise.

While such a bodily transposition is impossible, however much it is wished for, one thing that is possible in the modern era is for younger people to help steer an organisation onto the path to success.

Colin Dennis, from Falkirk, is proof of that. He joined Open Secret through a Community Jobs Scotland placement last year and has made a dramatic impact on the charity’s fortunes.

During his time as its fundraising and marketing officer he has turned around its money-making activities and increased the number of people using the service by a massive 25 per cent.

Modest Colin, who has a degree in anthropology from the University of Aberdeen, says relationships in the tight-knit group helped inspire him in his work.

The 24-year-old said: “I did a lot of volunteer work before Open Secret, but I loved my time with them.

“There wasn’t much of a fundraising group there so it was one of my priorities to get one going through group meetings.

“It’s definitely the type of work I like doing. It was very challenging, but I had a lot of freedom to explore things and the rest of the group and people there are very motivated and enthusiastic and had a lot of ideas and that inspired me.

“I learned so much with Open Secret and I’ve met so many inspiring people along the way. I would happily encourage anyone to get involved because the work is extremely rewarding.”

Since Colin got involved Open Secret – a service working with survivors of childhood abuse – has raised more than £4000 to help it provide services for families and victims.

They have double the number of ‘likes’ on Facebook and the number of people using their service is increasing all the time thanks, in part, to Colin’s guidance.

And such was his input and positive influence, the charity’s bosses decided to make him one of their own board of directors.

Chief executive Janine Rennie said: “Colin has been a fantastic addition to Open Secret. For many years our fundraising function only raised small amounts of money and was not very successful.

“Colin brought together a really motivated group including staff, service users and volunteers and he has kept the meetings working well so that they have now raised over £4000 from events and activities – and it is still rising.

“His enthusiasm inspires us all and he has made a huge difference to Open Secret. We are delighted that he has now joined our board of directors.

“Community Jobs Scotland has been a fantastic experience for our organisation. Having Colin as part of the team, with his enthusiasm, creativity and drive has meant that the people using our services have a much improved quality of life.”

Colin now works with Falkirk Council on a graduate trainee course as a research officer.