Family always comes first

Lynne Edwards’ job may sound like the business. But despite being a high-flier, her feet are firmly on the ground when it come to family responsibilities.

Lynne Edwards’ job may sound like the business. But despite being a high-flier, her feet are firmly on the ground when it come to family responsibilities.

SHE may be a financial wizard at the helm of three organisations, but family still comes first for Lynne Edwards.

The 52-year-old finance director has many hats to wear in her day job from finding ways of cutting carbon emissions in our homes to helping slash fuel poverty, but Lynne’s responsibilities don’t stop there.

She still makes time for her son, cares for her mother and looks after her mother-in-law during her working week.


AS finance director to the Community Energy Solutions (CES) Group and Domestic Energy Solutions, I start my week by planning what needs doing for each organisation.

CES operates in two areas; the North-East, and Yorkshire and Humberside.

The organisations are heavily funded by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in each area and operate as stand alone financial entities.

I prepare two sets of reports each month on spend. One for One North- East and another for Yorkshire Forward.

As these reports are complex, I focus on them until they are done and dusted for the month.

I then submit them to the RDAs. I also report on them to the CES board and the chief executive, Chris Leek.

DTI also receives a copy of each account, along with a breakdown that cross references our budget to the agreed business plans, so I finish the day tying any loose ends together.

After an intense day of number-crunching, I head home to Stamfordham to take part in a ladies’ fitness class. I organise this for the ladies of the village two nights a week. I spend the rest of the evening with my husband, Steve.


WITH my monthly reports submitted for CES, I turn my attention to Domestic Energy Solutions (DES) today.

A new concept funded by a Defra Community Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) and National Grid, the project also has funding from Scottish Power, along with support from the Association of North-East Councils (ANEC) and local authorities.

It is hugely important that all figures are clear.

DES started operating on October 1, and is moving fast.

Having branded the projects that DES will be delivering as GO WARM, we are now planning staffing costs, office overheads and all other professional costs.

Next week, assessors in our first area will call on people to discuss their cavity wall and loft insulation. They will offer benefits advice and explain how to cut carbon emissions in the home.

My whole day is spent on DES figures, culminating in a meeting with the director Karen Hindhaugh.


TODAY, I look at outgoings and organise payment to suppliers by BACS.

I manage the funding streams and pull together projections for CES, DES and another similar organisation I act on behalf of, Warm Wales Cymru Gynnes that is addressing fuel poverty through energy efficiency measures including loft and cavity wall insulation.

I spend the rest of the day identifying and developing new funding opportunities to support my projections, looking at the strategic long-term planning.

I also look at CES HR and recruitment, insurance and legal activities, and day-to-day finance management.

I am a working party member looking at the feasibility of renewable technology for Stamfordham School and village hall, so tonight I prepare for a meeting with the rest of the group to report on progress.


MUCH of today is spent working with the team including CES NE operations director David Lacey and CES Yorkshire operations director Lee Cattermole.

We are building up to the launch in Yorkshire, so I go through costs with Lee. I also evaluate the CES initiative to transform the market for renewable technology that heats homes in an environmentally-friendly way.

My role is to liaise with the manufacturers and fitters to drive down cost and make the technology an economically viable alternative. Both Lee and David are working on projects in housing estates involving renewable technology, so it is important costs are of a satisfactory level to allow us to deliver.

Tonight, I dedicate time to my voluntary positions.

I am the internal auditor of Stamfordham Parish Council, Matfen Parish Council and a local church.


AFTER a team meeting and contact with funders to ensure they received their monthly reports, I tidy up some paperwork and sign off contracts for a delivery partner for a project in Widdrington Station.

We have linked up with UK Coal to bring gas to 50 homes.

I follow up on our other projects in West Denton, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Stobswood and The Dene in Meadomsley with project managers Tom Reed and Lorraine Dobson.

We have already completed delivery in Prior Park, Berwick, and a Guinness Northern Counties Estate in Benwell, so I file information where it is accessible and then get away on time.

My son Andrew is home tonight.

As a student, he is often away, so when he does come home, we try to have a nice family meal.

I will spend much of the weekend caring for my widowed mother and mother-in-law. It doesn’t matter how much you have going on in your life, family should always come first.

Lynne Edwards is finance director for Community Energy Solutions and Domestic Energy Solutions.

She can be contacted on (0191) 216-0888, or go to www.communityenergysolutions.


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