I’m Alex Wallace from Mintridge Foundation and this is #MYCHARITY

The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and leaders to share their ambitions, routines and more and it’s published on WeGiveI Blog.

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Alex Wallace, Founder of Mintridge Foundation

Alex Wallace from Mintridge Foundation 

Location: Corby, Northamptonshire

Current job: Founder & Managing Director

One word that best describes how you work: Meticulous

Current mobile device: iPhone 8

Favourite website: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/https://herspirit.co.uk/

First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

I started Mintridge Foundation five years ago because I needed help myself as a teenager. I was awarded the 2018 Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year in the Grassroots Category, the Women of the Future Sport Award in 2017 alongside Dr Sarah Leiter, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

First I was a committed hockey player, but missed out on getting into the England team at the final stage. I had a huge crash of confidence and felt my identity was under threat. I really struggled with what I perceived as failure. All I needed was someone to tell me that I deserved to be there.

As a result Mintridge Foundation is now a registered charity, working with over 50,000 young people. We work for  enhancing life skills in young people through sport. We provide a support network for young people by harnessing the power of positive sporting role models.

We assists young people of all ages, abilities and physical capabilities to develop confidence and resilience. Moreover we create awareness of the importance of mental and physical wellbeing through sport. Our team of Ambassadors  – Olympians, Paralympians and other professional sports  work with young people in schools, clubs and academies across the UK. Starting with visits including assemblies, coaching clinics and classroom sessions tailored to each organisation’s requirements, our ambassadors can then provide one- on- one remote mentoring in a safeguarded environment. 

Take us through a recent workday.

No work day is the same at the Mintridge Foundation!

Just before 08:30, I caught up with Katie Smith, my colleague who is out. Katie is delivering a Mintridge Bronze programme in Brighton with one of our England Netball Ambassadors. Then I make a phone call with a technology company for an update on progress. We have recently received funding to help improve the quality and safeguarding of the remote element of our programmes.

I soon headed off to a local business to share more about our charitable work to see if we are able to become an official charity partner. I returned to the office to prepare a number of proposals for schools. School are interested in some of our Ambassadors leading a mentoring programme at their venues. A volunteer has recently offered her services for National Workout and Wellbeing Week and we put the final touches together for our Vinyasa Flow fundraising sessions before launching it online.

All before rushing out the door for a game of tennis! Perfection!

How do you discover new ways to innovate in your working day? 

I love to share ideas with other individuals and charities in the sector through forums and networking.

What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

Our charity Mintridge Foundation! We are a young organisation that has huge aspirations to be affordable and recognisable to every school in the country. SportValue Bank is going to be incredible for us moving forward to help demonstrate our impact to funders.

How do you choose business partners to support the charity?

Business Partners are selected that share our values in enhancing life skills for ALL young people through a diverse team of sporting role models. We like to be able to work with organisations in whatever capacity they choose, however big or small and we want to be able to support them just as they do for us.

Tell us about your favourite case history of the most successful partnership.  

I would say Squadkit has been one of our biggest supporters and corporate partners and, when you see their core values of participation, wellbeing, commitment to yourself and your team-mates, endurance and fun, it’s easy to see why.

To explain better Squadkit is a local business based in Oundle and they are the leading sportswear brand for independent schools nationwide.  Therefore, they understand the requirements of growing bodies, specialist kit and (as we’re sure many parents are thankful for) durability. Their kit goes through development and extensive testing with professional athletes (and the washing machine too).

They are really great as they believe in environmentally responsible, ethical trade and hold themselves to very high standards with regards to this. As if that wasn’t enough, Squadkit have now turned their attention to female sports participation, particularly in teenage girls. developing the Limitless sports bra, addressing the issue of high numbers of teenage girls dropping out of sport.

Through our partnership we have been able to impact 2,052 students in thirteen different schools since March 2019 delivering our Silver and Bronze programmes with a wide range of athletes, including tennis ace Jade Windley, netball superstars Pamela Cookey and Eboni Usoro Brown, diving Olympian Becky Gallantree and Paralympian archer Danielle Brown. Our partnership in Squadkit Scholarship Programme  deliver Squadkit core values and corporate social responsibility, as we move into 2020, with their new Ambassador Programme too!

Because Squadkit have done a huge amount for Mintridge, we are incredibly grateful. If you have seen our new, redesigned logo and website, this is thanks to Squadkit.

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?

Mostly I find it very difficult to relax, I have lived and breathed the world of Mintridge for the last 5 years and I am so passionate about it, I therefore really struggle to switch off.

As all of our elite athlete Ambassadors tell us on a regular basis, they schedule R&R into their training schedules, and they wouldn’t be able to compete and succeed at the very top without it.

Therefore, I am taking their advice and gathering perspective – being as kind to myself as I am to others by:

Spending quality time with the supporting people that I surround myself with.

I take my 3 year old nephew to football every Monday as the little things are the very important things and they keep me energised.

I play tennis for a local club.

I cycle and run without the use of apps (I put too much pressure on myself with PBs otherwise!).

I love doing a SuDoku in the evening to remove the temptation of overusing technology.

I enjoy a few glasses of wine with good friends!

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend?

Probably I would chose  Love for Imperfect Things:How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection   and Mud, Maul Mascara: How I Led My Country,and Lived to Tell the Tala

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.

Because I admire her,  Sophia Giblin, Clear Sky Charity

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Above all my favourite is “Find something that is more important than you and devote your life to it.” by Pinky Lilani CBE DL