Category: MYCHARITY

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I’m Brita from Women for Women and this is #MYCHARITY

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Brita Fernandez Schmidt, Executive Director at Women for Women International – UK, a charity organisation helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Brita- Women for Women charity
Brita- Women for Women charity

Location: London, UK

Current job: Executive Director

One word that best describes how you work: Inspiring

Your biggest success: Raising money to support Yezidi women, survivors of sexual violence after the 2014 Sinjar massacre in Northern Iraq

Your greatest fear:  Allow fear to keep me from pursuing my dreams

Your role model: I don‘t really like the notion of role models. I want us to strive to be our best selves. Instead, I love inspiring women, who inspire me to be my best self. Many of these women are women who have survived conflict and adversity who I have had the honour of meeting through my work at Women for Women International

Your favourite food: Any type of salad with sweet potatoes fries

Your life dream: Inspire women to turn their fears to fierce

 

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

When I was 14, I moved with my family from Germany to Venezuela and I saw poverty and its impact for the first time. I saw how it proportionately affects women and it ignited a passion within me to do what I can to promote equality and support women all over the world to know their power and uncover their potential. I did a MA in Women’s Studies 25 years ago and decided to work in the not for profit sector, as I saw it as the best fit to realise my purpose. For the past 12 years, I have been working with Women for Women International.

And I am excited to say that I have just finished writing my first book, which is a personal book that focuses on what I have learned about finding meaning, owning your power and transforming your world. It is called Fears to Fierce and is coming out in January 2021 and can be pre-ordered here.

Congratulations on your book, now tell us what makes Women for Women International a successful charity?

Women for Women International is a successful organization because it has staff who are experienced professionals and who care deeply, whether that is in the fundraising offices or in the offices in the countries where we operate our programme. Another reason for our success is our commitment to ongoing learning. We are never complacent, we always ask questions, we always want to know what is working and what is not working. We care deeply about the lasting impact of our work and we don’t shy away from changing track and, importantly, we innovate. We have adopted a permanent start-up mentality which has served us well.

How have you adjusted your working day to this special situation?

After three days of despair, once we had gone into lockdown, we decided that we needed to stop imagining every worst-case scenario under the sun and that we needed to start thinking about: WHAT CAN WE DO? Once we did that, everything shifted. That is the power of good questions, as soon as we started to ask this, answers came flooding in and within 5 weeks we had taken our biggest flagship event – our annual car boot sale – online; which in May raised £77,000. So my lessons learned is: pivot fast, focus on what you can do, fail fast, and don‘t wait to be ready.

What is changing in the charity sector in the pandemic era?

I cannot speak for the whole sector, and I think many of the trends we are seeing are true for the wider world – a drive to digital, working from home etc.
One thing I would like to highlight that has struck me is that NOT giving in to despair has been key – bringing new ideas and initiatives even in these times has been vital to our work and much welcomed by our supporters as a sign that there is hope. So that will be very important, for our work and our supporters!

How do you choose business partners to support Women for Women?

It’s all about shared values and vision! Business partners for us become our family. Whether it is Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, Net-A-Porter or Monica Vinader, everyone no matter where within the business buys fully into our partnership and that is at the heart of our successful collaborations.

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

It’s so hard to choose. Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, is just incredible because of the size of the commitment and impact, with their £1 million pledge they are having an enormous impact in countries like Rwanda, Nigeria and Northern Iraq. But our partnership with Net-A-Porter has also been simply inspiring – not only has it raised a lot of money but it raises such awareness around the whole world, which is invaluable and cannot be quantified.

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

I love running, so I do that every morning followed by yoga. And my other way to recharge is to read! I love books and I read all the time.

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

The best question you could possibly ask me! Ok, so I always read several books all at once. Currently, I am reading What we’re told not to talk about by Nimko Ali;   Women don’t owe you pretty by Florence Given,   The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off by Gloria Steinem;  Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad; Recollections of my Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see…

Faith Mwangi-Powell from Girls Not Brides answer these same questions.

Can you give us the golden rule to achieve your goals?

Shine Bright, Breathe and Let go! #FearsToFierce

 

You can follow WomeforWomen on @womenforwomenuk

 

We love to interview charity’s leaders and listen about their work and their way to create great partnerships. If you want to learn more if the Purpose-Cause match is effective and well-communicated check out how we can help.


I’m Laura Winningham from City Harvest and this is #MYCHARITY

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Laura Winningham, CEO of City Harvest a charity organisation that puts surplus food to good use in a sustainable way.

Laura Winningham from City Harvest
Laura Winningham from City Harvest

Location: London

Current job: CEO, City Harvest

One word that best describes how you work: Meticulous

Your biggest success: 10 million meals delivered in London, 15,000 tons of greenhouse gases prevented by redistributing surplus food to those in need.       

Your greatest fear: Earthquakes—I’ve been in a few.

Your biggest dream: My children thrive and achieve all they set out to do

Your favourite movie: Fargo

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

I’m originally from New York, where I worked in the world of finance, investing in media and telecom stocks at a private investment partnership.  I have an MBA from Stanford with a focus on entrepreneurship and had a taste for investing with a purpose, having spent time as an analyst at a socially responsible venture capital fund whilst I was a student. After taking time out of the corporate world to raise twins I decided to move in a different direction.  I was aware that in New York and other major cities around the world, there were organisations rescuing fresh surplus food from local businesses that would otherwise go to waste and delivering it to people who needed it most.  I believed that there was a large need in London for this type of organisation.  We estimate that each month in London food for 13.3 million meals is wasted whilst at the same time 9.2 million meals are missed by people living in food poverty. 

Some friends were collecting food from Whole Foods Kensington to help a local church in West London and we decided to test the market, connecting more food businesses and additional charities. We launched City Harvest with an old borrowed refrigerated van and a few early food partners in addition to Whole Foods such as Morrisons, M&S and Charlie Bigham’s.  The rest is history.  We now redistribute more than 100,000 nourishing meals each week to 300 charities in every London borough.

Take us through a recent workday at City Harvest

City Harvest have doubled in size almost overnight to meet the spiralling levels of hunger that are resulting from the Coronavirus crisis.   We’ve delivered almost 1 million meals in the first 6 weeks of the lockdown.  We’ve done this with many of our usual team self-isolating and a skeletal team in the office, operating with social distancing.  So a recent workday has left very little time for sleep. Our partners, many of whom served community meals to large groups of people have changed format and City Harvest has had to adapt to meet their new need to provide food that is best suited for food parcels and home deliveries. At the same time, the food supply chain is in disarray and we’re adapting to changes on that side of our organisation as well. With a need for more food, we need to educate more food businesses about the importance of donating any surplus food.  We’ve needed to train new drivers and get temporary additional warehouse space to stock the growing inventory. 

The entire City Harvest team has been extraordinary and heroic.  I’m so proud of what they’ve achieved.  As one of the founding members of the London Food Alliance, we are working with the Mayor’s office and local boroughs to ensure that all individuals have access to the food that they need during this emergency.

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

At City Harvest, we’re always reflecting and evaluating the work we do with the ultimate goal of delivering more nourishing meals to more people.  We are very data-driven and use our real-time information to evaluate the efficiency of our fleet of food rescue vans, the nutritional content of the food we rescue, and many other metrics to ensure we are efficiently using donor funds to better nourish the community.  We have an Impact team that is focused on more qualitative issues.  They are speaking with our charity partners, getting a feel for the need in the community and clarity on whether City Harvest is effectively meeting the need of the thousands of men, women and children who have issues accessing food. We always seek feedback from our partners and are eager to hear the stories of the people that are nourished with food from City Harvest.   We’re always analysing results so we can improve our outcomes.

What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

The immediate focus for most charities will be to find the support needed to survive in a very challenging social and economic climate resulting from the COVID Crisis.  One key will be collaboration- during this crisis, more than ever, I’ve witnessed charities sharing information, ideas, and technology.  The ability to rapidly form partnerships has been important in what is essentially a humanitarian food aid crisis in our own backyard.  There’s a sense that we’ve gone from nourishing our neighbours to working in life and death situations.   Volunteers delivering meals are often the ones to call ambulances to help vulnerable, self -isolating people who have been neglected and malnourished.

How do you choose business partners to support the charity?

Our sustainability goals are aligned with many of the corporate partners with which we work. Our food redistribution work, nourishing people with food that would otherwise go to waste, meets 9 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals such as No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Sustainable Cities.

Many companies want to make a very hyperlocal impact, directly in and around the locations where their employees live and work.  City Harvest operates in all London boroughs and we can give each corporate partner a very clear impact report on how we help vulnerable people in their areas.  Some companies wish to benefit a specific group such as children, refugees, families, women facing domestic violence, the homeless.  City Harvest delivers food to programs that serve almost every vulnerable group.

Companies can send volunteers to help us sort food and deliver to different projects and see the direct impact that they are making.  This is a very inspiring experience.  We have fantastic partnerships with food businesses, which are at the very foundation of what we do and with others who offer financial support and volunteering to keep our vans on the road delivering food. Companies such as William Blair, Artemis Funds, T Rowe Price and foundations such as Citybridge Trust, Portman Foundation, and the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers and the Grocers have been invaluable to our work.  We also benefit from skills-based volunteering, having individuals who are some of the best and brightest in their fields offering us professional services.  All of these partners share our interest and passion-getting great quality, nutritious food to London’s most vulnerable.

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

It’s so hard to choose – City Harvest has more than 300 community partners who receive our free food surplus food deliveries each week.  These community meal programs, children’s’ programs, family centres, and elderly drop-in sessions are each doing heroic things that transform lives for the better. Food is a tool they all use to embrace people, bring them in, offer them friendship and other services.  We have several partners who we work with on multiple programs like the Mayor’s Fund  Kitchen Social, which ensures children have activities and nourishment during holiday periods—times when unfortunately many children in London face adversity. Foodcycle has many hubs around London, and City Harvest delivers food to several of these.  I have a special place in my heart for Choir with no Name which brings vulnerable, homeless people together for a weekly choir rehearsal and during the holidays does wonderful performances throughout London.  City Harvest delivers the ingredients that enable more than 80 people to have a wonderful vegetarian meal weekly after theses rehearsals. 

Our partnerships with restaurants, supermarkets, manufacturers, events companies and others make what we do possible.  We look forward to annual events in London which choose to give us really special surplus food donations—Wimbledon, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and the International Food & Drink Event.  And we value our partnerships with New Covent Garden market and New Spitalfields Market since we focus on fresh nutritious food—35% of the food we deliver is fresh fruit and vegetables.   Supermarkets like Whole Foods and Morrisons have been great supporters and manufacturers of nutritious meals like Charlie Bigham’s have been so important to nourish the community.

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

Leading a food redistribution charity during an emergency food aid crisis leaves little time to switch off.  It definitely involves lots of sacrifice on the part of our entire team! I’m sure this is true across all charities. What drives this hard work is a sense of pride in what we all accomplish each day. I read several books each week and because gyms are currently shuttered due to coronavirus risks, I am benefiting from fantastic streaming Pilates classes from my favourite studio (heartcore.co.uk) which I squeeze into my schedule. I have zoom calls with old friends based all over the world and most importantly, find time to laugh—having identified several streaming shows to watch with my husband and twins that offer a complete distraction from the challenging issues in the world today.

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

I usually read an eclectic combination of books at any one time, a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and have a monthly book group (now on zoom!).    I’ve recently read The Feather Thief, The Salt Path, The Dutch House and I’m about to start The Mirror & the Light

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

I’ve met so many inspiring people in this sector recently, of whom I’d love to ask all these questions! Since City Harvest delivers food to more than 300 community organisations, I’m continually impressed by the individuals I see working so hard to make such a great impact. Louisa Mitchell, West London Zone, Louise Holstein, Mike’s TableMary McGrath, Foodcycle, Dee Woods at Granville Community Centre and Dan Atkins, Buses4 Homeless are just a few of the people who I find very impressive.  We also collect food from hundreds of companies and I meet so many people who are doing impressive things and supporting City Harvest in the process.  Emilie Vanpoperinghe, founder of Oddbox and Ali Warburton founder of POW foods are two who come to mind.

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

I’m a keen believer in paying it forward. City Harvest has been successful because of the tremendous support of so many different partners and stakeholders and we try and take a very collaborative approach, passing on the goodwill we’ve been so fortunate to receive to others.  Over the years, we’ve been given a tremendous amount of advice from the CEO, Lori Nikkel, of Second Harvest in Toronto.  She responds to every query with incredible speed and with thoughtful responses.   So we are thrilled when people ask City Harvest for guidance on how to start a food rescue organisation and we can pay it forward. We often get calls from other cities and countries and we’re thrilled to share our knowledge and learnings.

You can follow City Harvest on Instagram @cityharvestlondon

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

We love to interview charity’s leaders and listen about their work and their way to create great partnerships. If you want to learn more if the Purpose-Cause match is effective and well-communicated check out how we can help.


I’m Susana Prudêncio from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and this is #MYCHARITY

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Susana Prudêncio, from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Susana Prudêncio, Deputy Director Marketing & Digital Transformation, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Susana Prudêncio, Deputy Director Marketing & Digital Transformation, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Location: Lisbon

Current job: Deputy Director of Marketing and Digital Transformation at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

One word that best describes how you work: Positivity, I always believe it is possible

My greatest success: two innovative projects that I helped to create more than 20 years ago, that are still in use today, and I am very proud of: the creation of a concept for the stores of the National Museums in Portugal and the Project «Um Mecenas um Museu» (A patron a museum).

My biggest fear: An empty house

My secret wish: Take the Orient Express or live in Amalfi for a season

My role model: My mother. A wonderful human being.

My favourite website: Barbican 

 

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

My career started at the National Gallery in Washington where I had the chance to learn from the best and to see how a big museum is managed. Then I moved back to Portugal and I worked at several cultural institutions such as the National Museums Institute, the Serralves Foundation in Oporto and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, where I’ve been working for 13 years. My work experience has always been very dynamic and encompasses different areas such as corporate partnerships, brand/design and communication activities or the creation of unique experiences in the world of arts for regular visitors and business customers.

Can you explain what is Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation?

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is a wonderful cultural and philanthropic institution. Its founder, Calouste Gulbenkian, was a very wealthy businessman and art collector, whose concern about the fate of his art collection during World War II motivated his desire to move to the United States. Fortunately, he stopped in Lisbon on his way and changed his mind. He spent the last years of his life in Portugal and decided to create, by will, a foundation to which he would bequeath his fortune and art collection.

The Foundation aims to improve people’s lives through art, education, science and charity. In addition to the headquarters in Lisbon, it also has delegations in London and Paris, places where Gulbenkian lived.

What does it mean for you Digital Transformation?

I see Digital Transformation as our full adaptation to the technology-based world where we are living today. From storage to equipment, from productivity tools to digital campaigns, the digital transformation affects both internal processes, namely the working environment, but also external processes, such as communicating to our audiences.

In which way is Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is embracing the digital revolution?

The high level of digital preparation of our organization has radically changed in the last years and has been proved to be especially important during this pandemic. It has allowed us to keep our daily work in the safety of our houses, without significant disruption.

We have developed a strategy related with the development of platforms and digital contents that allowed us to keep connected with our audiences by providing relevant and up to date content;  live-stream concerts, conferences, guided tours, conversations with curators at home, challenges on social networks, among many other actions. Art is useful and it is revealing its importance in people’s lives right now. Have you noticed the number of people sharing works of art and experiences with works of art lately?

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

I try to be up to date by following the work of cultural institutions of reference, I am “connected” and attentive to new trends. In our team, we have very young people that keep challenging me.

Can you tell us a key lesson you have learned along the way

Observe, listen to others, listen to the heart and common sense.

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

I am a big fan of walking, I love to sunbath and swim in the ocean.

What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?

I don’t have time for regrets ?. I am always focused on the present moment and future achievements.

Finally, as Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has an incredible art collection, which one is a breathtaking piece that people can’t miss?

It is extremely hard to highlight one piece of art in such an extensive collection, which goes from ancient Egypt to the 20th century. I like many of the artistic periods covered and its major artists like Rembrandt, or Turner. Nevertheless, if I had to choose, I would probably follow my emotions and pick the Francesco Guardi room. I already liked this room before working at the Foundation. For me, it is a magical place, with a considerable number of paintings illustrating the 18thcentury Venice. The paintings portray the beauty of the city, from the Grand Canal to Giudecca. The most glamorous it is the one that depicts the Feast of the Ascension in St Mark’s Square.

'Feast of the Ascension in St Mark’s Square' - Francesco Guardi, 1775 - Calouste Gulbenkian Museum,  Lisboa, Portugal
‘Feast of the Ascension in St Mark’s Square’ – Francesco Guardi, 1775 – Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisboa, Portugal

The light, the ambience, the movement, the dresses, everything entice us and take us to that place. I close my eyes and I am momentarily transported to the arcade of the Florian café, having some wine and laughing with loved ones. This room makes me happy! Isn’t that the good thing that art gives us?

 

You can follow the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation on Instagram at fcgulbenkian

 

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


I’m Mark Curtin from The Felix Project and this is #MYCHARITY

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Mark Curtin, CEO at The Felix Project, a charity that prevents food waste and works to eradicate food poverty and hunger.

Mark Curtin – The Felix Project CEO

Location: London

Current job: CEO at The Felix Project.

One word that best describes how you work: Teamwork

Your biggest success: Personally – My children.

Your biggest success: Professionally – leading my team during COVID19 crisis.

Your greatest fear: Forgetting to recognise everyone’s efforts.

Your biggest dream: My children achieve everything they want to.

Your favourite movie: Star Wars IV, A new hope.

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

I come from a fairly working-class family from North London and later Milton Keynes. Then, I started in professional sport, playing football, then coaching, which took me overseas to the U.S. for a while. Later, I worked in Further Education and then Sport for Development for over 10 years, before several senior management roles in various Education and Children’s charities. In July 2019 I became CEO at The Felix Project, a charity that prevents food waste and works to eradicate food poverty and hunger in London.

Take us through a recent workday.

Since the outbreak of COVID19, I am working very closely with all teams, ensuring we are responding and adapting to the fast-paced environment that we operate within. I deal with the media and a huge range of very grateful donors and supporters who are working to help us. My main priority to work closely with my teams, many of who are now working remotely to discuss work, assess situations, analyse the impact on our work and make decisions with the team to have maximum impact. I also prioritise saying well done and thank you and making sure everyone is safe and healthy. I tweet, post and communicate via social channels a great deal and generally find every day is quite different at the moment.

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

I ask the very talented and clever people I am surrounded by, I listen, I observe and I learn… then I apply what I think works best for what we are trying to achieve.

What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

Embracing the learning and requirements to adapt and change during the COVID19 crisis, the best charities will thrive if they can innovate, adapt to whatever becomes the new world we operate within and remove any out of date practices and approaches

How do you choose business partners to support the charity?

One simple question – Will they enable us to achieve our mission?

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

Not sure we have a favourite one as many businesses work very well for us in different ways. But those partners who engage with us in multiple ways, helping us to tell our story, developing and improving our organisation, bringing their people to work with us through volunteering or other opportunities and helping us to achieve our mission and reach our goals are always the best!

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

Spend time with my wife and children. I also like to run or get out on my bike. I am known to frequent the Emirates stadium very regularly too to watch my beloved Arsenal

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

I haven’t had the time to read a book recently, but my all-time favourites are Black Box thinking by Mathew Syed, Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull or for a bit of light relief and something from my childhood William Golding’s brilliant Lord of the Flies. I would also say watch any Sir Ken Robinson TedTalk!

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

Neil Purcell, CEO at Talent Works International or Mike de Giorgio Founder of Greenhouse Sports.

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

Make sure you are never the smartest person in the room, surround yourself with the best talent and always listen more than you speak when in a leadership role.

 

You can follow The Felix Project on Instagram @thefelixprojext

The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and leaders to share their ambitions, routines.

We can help businesses and charities to optimize their Cause Marketing, enhance their Brand Presence and give targetted education with our Marketing Workshops.


I’m Clara Widdison from Mayor’s Fund for London and this is #MYCHARITY

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Clara Widdison, from Mayor’s Fund for London, the charity who support young Londoners and  promotes the activities which best increases their opportunities. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is their patron.

Clara Widdison from Kitchen Social at Mayor's Fund for London
Clara Widdison from Kitchen Social at Mayor’s Fund for London

Location: London

Current job: Kitchen Social Programme Manager at Mayor’s Fund for London

One word that best describes how you work: Commitment

Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S10

Favourite website: Imgur.com

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

I knew that I wanted to work in food when I left University, but I had no idea what roles were available or what my skill set would suit. I felt around blindly for many years – running a cookery blog, volunteering at food charities or coops and applying for jobs that seemed like they might be the right ‘fit’ (they weren’t!). Through a process of elimination, I understood what it was that I loved to do and how I could do it. One day I saw an article in a newspaper about a new social enterprise in the food sector. I rang them up and said ‘I have to work for you!’ That job changed my life.

Take us through a recent workday.

Kitchen Social is a pan-London program organised by Mayor’s Fund in response to holiday food insecurity. We work through one hundred grassroots organizations across London to get nutritious meals and enriching activities to children who may not have either otherwise.

Although this current public health crisis, the Coronavirus crisis, isn’t a school holiday, children from low income backgrounds are still out of school and at risk of hunger and malnutrition. The research we have done suggests that this applies to 300,000 children in London.

That’s why we’re continuing to help children living in food insecure households. At the moment I am speaking to our hubs about developing an emergency response to get food to these young people and their families. We’re also speaking to partners and families about supporting us to achieve this.

On a daily basis, we’re working with the Felix Project, FareShare and City Harvest to deliver food parcels to vulnerable families in London. We’re also working with Thomas Franks to make sure that children have fresh, healthy meals. If you’re keen to help, please consider donating to our appeal here: https://bit.ly/3a74VIp. Your support means that our Kitchen Social hubs can continue to provide packed lunches, hot food for collection & food hampers for those in need.

In the meantime, I am juggling my day job with caring for a toddler, and so the days are pretty manic at the moment!

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

At Mayor’s Fund for London we are constantly reviewing and reflecting on the work we do and how to improve and develop our model. We do that through feedback from young people and their families, our delivery partners and through engaging with the most up to date research. There isn’t a day that goes by when I am not tinkering with something – I think of myself as a social engineer.

What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

Sustainability! It’s been on the cards for years, but it is something we haven’t fully embraced as an industry. As funding becomes less available and more competitive, a lot of charities are looking for ways to become more self-sustaining. I come from a social enterprise background and I foresee that a lot of traditional charities will start moving into this space in the upcoming years.

How do you choose business partners to support the charity?

A lot of corporate partners want to work with us because we support children in the city in which they are based. We try to work with those who share our passion – getting great quality, nutritious food to children! We have brilliant partnerships with organisations such as Caravan Restaurants,  Waitrose, Wahaca and Soho House.

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

It’s so hard to choose – we really do have wonderful funders and sponsors. The restaurants are always so much fun to work with – they come along to our hubs and cook with our children and it’s an absolute joy to see the young people engage with new foods and the concept of professional cooking, some for the first time. We also have brilliant relationships with the surplus food providers in London, such as City Harvest and the Felix Project. They get great quality food into our hubs, and our hubs turn them into delicious meals for children.

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

Rarely do I want to forget about work. I went into the charity sector knowing that I would have to sacrifice large pay checks, corporate perks and a glamorous career – instead I get a real sense of joy and pride in what we all do.

Sometimes to destress, I will cook at home, often for friends or family, whilst listening to questionable music very loudly. My toddler is always first in line when I am making banana pancakes.

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

Nowadays I don’t get much time to read – my toddler sees to that! I have a huge pile of books on my bedside table that I am constantly promising to pick up. My favourite thing to flick through is cookbooks. I don’t follow recipes when I cook, but I love the photography and the inspiring ideas. Plus I can pick them up and put them down without worrying about forgetting the storyline!

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

There are so many people in this sector that I find inspiring. It would be great to hear more from the female powerhouses leading the movement for a better food system such as Anna Taylor from Food Foundation , Kath Dalmeny from SustaIn and Kemi Akinola from Be Enriched.

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

My former boss gave me so much great advice. He really shaped who I am. One piece of advice that sticks with me is “This too shall pass.” Whenever I have a tough day, I recall this, and I know there is a much brighter one on the way. It seems a fitting piece of advice for our current situation.

You can follow Mayor’s Fund for London on Instagram @mayorsfundforlondon

 

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


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 has 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 has 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 at 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 choose 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

 


We can help you to optimize your Cause Marketing, enhance your Brand Presence and give you targetted education with our Marketing Workshops.

I’m Charlie Hay from Afrikids and this is #MYCHARITY

The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and leaders to share their ambitions, routines and more. It’s published monthly at www.wegiveit.co.uk/blog

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Charlie Hay, Ceo of Afrikids

Charlie Hay from Afrikids

Location: London

Current job: CEO 

One word that best describes how you work: Catalystic

Favourite website: Google/Google Earth

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

A VSO volunteering programme took me to northern Ghana in 2009 where I discovered AfriKids (both through volunteering and as a patient at the AfriKids Medical Centre!). I quickly fell in love with this amazing organisation and the incredible work it does changing children’s lives and so when I returned to the UK, I joined the London team as an intern. As part of a small team, I’ve worn many hats over the years, but I was thrilled to became Chief Exec in 2018 and tomorrow will be celebrating my 10th anniversary at AfriKids.

Take us through a recent workday.

No two days are ever quite the same but in the last week I have spent a lot of time on the phone with my colleagues in Ghana working on our ambitious new strategy for 2021-2025 and finalizing budgets and plans for this year; recruiting new staff to the UK team; and having meetings with our wonderful patron Baroness Chalker, a few of our amazing donors and other CEOs/peers/mentors for shared learning and to discuss collaboration.

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

I make a lot of time to listen and learn from others – reading sector news, meeting peers, catching up with my team, attending workshops and seminars and generally trying to step back and remember “the point” of it all – why AfriKids exists and what else we can do to “make the boat go faster” towards our ultimate goals. My colleagues in the UK and Ghana are phenomenal and we share a genuine passion and commitment to our cause over our organisation, which means there is a really strong culture for trying new things, taking risks and hearing everyone’s ideas for how we can continue to evolve and grow. We have made a lot of big changes over the last couple of years and everyone has really embraced and been a part of them which makes it so much easier to try new things quickly and constantly improve.

What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

I think we’ll see a lot more collaboration and partnership as everyone (in and outside of the sector) is thinking in an increasingly global and integrated way, especially around some of the issues we’re trying to tackle. At AfriKids we’re making this a priority under our new strategy, recognising the value of partnerships across all areas of our work – from funding to programmes delivery – to have an even greater impact and ultimately, to see Ghana able to secure the rights of every child sooner.

How do you measure success?

Big smiles! Our strapline is “bringing big smiles to little faces”, and ultimately our work is successful when children are happy, healthy, safe and in school. But achieving this relies on working effectively with everyone it takes to make real and lasting change possible. The AfriKids team being happy and supported to deliver their best means they give us their best, so I’m really big on training, development, recognition, opportunity and support with work/life balance. My own experience of being encouraged and supported to rise through the ranks at AfriKids has taught me that people are usually capable of more than they realise, given the chance and a bit of faith, so I try to empower my team in the same way and they continuously amaze me (and themselves!). Our donors having an amazing experience with us and our project stakeholders (including communities and children themselves) being involved and valued is also critical to our success and when all of these people – everyone it takes – are happy and actively supporting us, the traditional metrics of success (business KPIs) reflect that.

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

Big walks, time in nature, cooking, learning new things (I’m a total nerd – courses, talks, exhibitions) and watching what is probably an unhealthy number of murder mysteries.

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

It’s always my new year’s resolution to read more and so far this year I have read Stephen Fry’s Mythos, Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and The Bell Jar. None of them work-related but I would recommend them all! And I’m one of the thousands of annoying people who can’t help telling everyone to read Sapiens (if you haven’t, do!)

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

Mark Waddington, Hope and Homes

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

At work – if you wouldn’t want to see it on the front of a newspaper, don’t do it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

www.afrikids.org


We can help you to optimize your Cause Marketing,  enhance your Brand Presence and give you targetted education with our Marketing Workshops.

I’m Clive Conway from the Tutu Foundation and this is #MYCHARITY

The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and leaders to share their ambitions, routines and more. It’s published monthly at www.wegiveit.co.uk/blog

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Clive Conway, Managing Director of Clive Conway Productions  and Chair of the (Desmond) Tutu Foundation UK 

Location: London

Current job: Managing Director of Clive Conway Productions and Chair of the (Desmond) Tutu Foundation UK 

One word that best describes how you work: Entrepreneurially

Current mobile device: iPhone 8

Favourite website: Amazon

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

As a professional flautist with a wide network of distinguished friends and colleagues in the worlds of music and theatre, I started producing anthology performances during the 1990s. They featured well-known actors like Derek Jacobi, Wendy Craig, Hannah Gordon and Robert Powell and leading writers including the late John Mortimer.

The success of these shows, which brought top-quality performances to regional theatres, inspired me to develop the “An Audience with…” idea. Starting with Tony Benn in 2002, it proved an immediate critical and box office success, filling theatres across the country, particularly in the provinces. The formula blazed a trail that has since been followed with big names including David Frost, Alastair Campbell, Jonathan Miller, Michael Portillo, John Sergeant, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a hundred others.

I now concentrate my energy on leading the Tutu Foundation UK into new, much bigger projects that attract greater public awareness and I was fortunate enough to win the Third Sector Awards Charity Chair of the Year in October 2016

Take us through a recent workday.

Meditate for twenty minutes, one hour’s flute practice and one hour’s admin at home A two -hour Tutu Trustees minute in the city. El Vino’s in Fleet Street with one of our Trustees for a catch-up and inspiring idea-generating session. More admin. Attending a fascinating whisky tasting event.

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

By constantly meeting new people and sitting down with them and listening to them. Also meditating and playing the flute generates ideas.

 What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

Collaboration between two or more charities on a project. The Tutu Foundation collaborates with the Prem Rawat Foundation, Regent’s University London, Youth Futures, Love Life Generation, Voyage, Brand South Africa, the South African High Commission, the South African Chamber of Commerce, MOPAC, the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, City of London Police and others. This enables us all to punch above our weight.

How do you measure success?

Our recent third annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Summit at Regent’s University, London started with Gina Miller, the activist and finished with FW de Klerk the President of South Africa who ended apartheid. In between were speakers of equal knowledge, conviction and profile. You could feel success in the atmosphere and see it in the intent looks on the audience’s faces. It lasted from 9 am until 6 pm and most people were there throughout.

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

Ideally, sit and drink with friends. Alternatively, watch box sets on television and always the news.

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

The Gilbert Legacy. It is a marvellous flute tutor book.

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

Give to the world the best you’ve got and the best will come back to you. My mother told me this when I was very young.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

The Tutu Foundation UK was founded in 2007 by the Very Reverend Colin Slee, the late Dean of Southwark Cathedral, and Edith Slee, with the support of their close friends Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs Leah Tutu.

The organisation is founded on the principles of Ubuntu, an African philosophy that emphasises our common humanity – our connectedness and interdependence as fellow human beings. We work with everyone recognising the value in each person.

As Desmond Tutu puts it: ‘My humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. We belong in a bundle of life. We say a person is a person through other persons.’

The Tutu Foundation UK and Youth Futures have created a partnership to enable young people, particularly disaffected young people, and the police in boroughs across London to engage in constructive conversations. The conversations are led and facilitated by trained young people. Their purpose is to enable the police and young people recognise the individual humanity in each other, build understanding and respect for each other and so improve community policing.

Ultimately the Ubuntu Round Tables and the philosophy of Ubuntu are tools to re-invent community policing, so that we can all live in more peaceful and collaborative communities.

Building and maintaining peaceful communities involves a good understanding of conflict, as well as the knowledge and skills for effective conflict management. The Tutu Foundation UK has set up the Tutu Foundation UK Mediation Service (TFMS) as well as the Tutu Foundation UK Training Academy (TFTA).

The TFMS panel consists of professionally accredited mediators, comprising leading medical practitioners, senior barristers and practising psychotherapists. This blend of legal, medical and psychological backgrounds offers specialist expertise and the skill to intervene wherever required, for peace-building and resolving conflicts.

Similarly, the TFTA delivers educational seminars, lectures, talks, conferences and training, to equip professionals in all sectors – health, industry, education or commerce – with insights into effective conflict-management skills.

The programmes are designed to provide an additional understanding of the psychology behind the skills, resulting in improved relationships, better communications and understanding of equality and diversity issues, greater efficiency and productivity – and, of course, fewer conflicts.

You can find out more about the Tutu foundation on their site and social feeds: Twitter, Facebook and Youtube

Follow Clive on Twitter and Facebook

We love to interview charity’s leaders and listen about their work and their way to create great partnerships. If you want to learn more if the Purpose-Cause match is effective and well-communicated check out how we can help.


I’m Gemma Malley from BookTrust and this is #MYCHARITY

The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and leaders to share their ambitions, routines and more. It’s published monthly at www.wegiveit.co.uk/blog

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Gemma Malley, Director of Communications and Development at BookTrust

Location: London

Current job: Director of Communications and Development at BookTrust

One word that best describes how you work:  Open

Current mobile device: iPhone 6

Favourite website: Arts and Letters www.aldaily.com

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

I started out as a business and finance journalist, then moved into education. I was director of communications at Ofsted before having children and carving out a career as a children’s author. I spent a lot of time in schools and it was so interesting seeing the difference in the pupils at schools that really celebrated reading, even those in areas of real social deprivation. Eventually, I started to miss the collaboration of work and was delighted to be able to combine all my passions at BookTrust, the reading charity which ensures that all children are able to experience the life-changing benefits of reading.

Take us through a recent workday.

I drop my three children at school first then make my way to the office; my days are usually a mix of meetings, reading paper and proposals and checking in on campaigns. Our fundraising team is relatively new and we are very entrepreneurial in approach but everything we do is grounded in testing. We know that there are lots of parents out there who are passionate about reading and can see the difference that reading together has made to their own children’s confidence, creativity, school attainment and communication skills. But there are so many children who barely have access to books and reading, who start school a year behind their peers, and who struggle to catch up. Many people want to support our cause; we just need to make it fun and easy for them.

Do you have the magic recipe to balance your personal and work life?

Loving what you do helps enormously, and also accepting that home and work-life can’t be entirely compartmentalised. I often think about work when I’m at home – but equally, I frequently send myself emails during the day to remind myself about the equipment needed for school the next day! I work from home one day a week so I can do school pick up; it’s important that I see my children at school and have a chance to talk to other parents as well as teachers. I also start the day early – I’m regularly cooking shepherd’s pie at 6 am ready for supper. I’m much better in the morning – past 8 pm you don’t get a huge amount of sense out of me.

What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

Trust is going to be key – showing that you are making a real difference in what you do. Also, I think it will be increasingly important to make people feel good about giving. It’s all about experiences and social media these days – feeling good about the choices you’ve made, feeling like you’re doing some good, and having a great picture to share to promote the cause are all very appealing to people.

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

Hanging out with my children exhausts me in a whole different way and I go by the mantra ‘a change is as good as a rest’. We have huge monopoly-fests; my children are apparently natural born property moguls. I also do barre classes which make me howl because they’re so difficult, but I feel invincible afterwards.

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

I’m currently reading The Friendly Ones by Philip Hensher which is brilliant. I read as much as I can – I’m the old fashioned person on the train clutching a book, not staring at my phone. And I’m reading Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl to the children at the moment. We read all sorts of books – sometimes a classic, sometimes the latest thing and quite often a book about Ninjas, Minecraft or Lego. The best book is a book that you/your children truly want to read.

Fill in the blank:

I’d love to see my team answer these same questions.

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

My mother always used to say ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ Working that through – the worst scenario and what you’d do – makes it much easier to keep going when the going gets tough.

What is your view on paper books versus digital books? Do you think that the next generation will still read on paper?

I hope so. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with digital books, which can also be enormously helpful to children with some additional needs, but paper books have a soul – you own them and transfer a bit of yourself to them when you read them, folding down corners, making dents in the spine. Children love physical books, and when they read them they share them – cuddling in for a bedtime story, turning the pages together, pointing at things. Whereas no child will share a digital device. Looking at the books on someone’s shelves is such a great way of getting to know them; scrolling through an iPad list just isn’t the same.

You can find out more about BookTrust on their site and social feeds: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube

Gemma is on Linkedin.

We love to interview charity’s leaders and listen about their work and their way to create great partnerships. If you want to learn more if the Purpose-Cause match is effective and well-communicated check out how we can help.


The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their ambitions, routines and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Sara

I’m Carla Jones from Allergy UK and this is #MYCHARITY

The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and leaders to share their ambitions, routines and more. It’s published monthly at www.wegiveit.co.uk/blog

This week on the #MYCHARITY series, we speak to Carla Jones, CEO of Allergy UK

Location: Sidcup Kent

Current job: Chief Executive of Allergy UK

One word that best describes how you work: Committed

Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Favourite website: Allergy UK’s www.allergyuk.org

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

Allergy UK is the leading national patient organisation supporting the 21 million people living with allergy in the UK. We are a small team of 25 with a huge footprint. The organisation has been around 26 years but has quietly got on with its work. I became CEO in May 2015 with a task from the Board of Trustees to drive our mission – raising the profile of allergy – and our vision – for everyone affected by allergy to receive the best possible care.

As a social scientist, my career and interests have focused on how society can work collaboratively to improve the quality of life for all. My interest in allergy and the need to raise awareness of the rights of those living with an allergy comes from a personal place. My own family includes food allergy, atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma and anaphylaxis – so when I saw an opportunity to lead Allergy UK three years ago I just had to apply. The severity of the allergic disease is still not understood in our society and I want to be a part of raising awareness so that society recognises this serious long-term life condition and the impact it has on quality of life for those living with it.

I haven’t taken a structured pathway in one field of work but have gathered knowledge and experience along the way. I have worked in local government, leading community, social and physical regeneration of socially deprived areas. My earlier academic career involved research and lecturing on topics associated with early years, psycho-social aspects of health and the evaluation of government initiatives aimed at increasing life chances for young children. I have worked in healthcare, including managing a specialist palliative care hospice, working with University students with specific health needs, and nursing in secondary care. This was all preceded by working in the private sector in purchasing, retail and banking. So a mixture of experience which, for a CEO helps – as you need to know a bit about most things with experts in your team to support.    

Take us through a recent workday.

I am up at 5.30 am most days, feed the dog, and then have a 90-minute drive to work. Coffee on arrival with a quick refresh on the important list of actions for that day. I usually touch base briefly with the service managers in case they have something they wish to update me on, need to discuss any communications about allergy in the media or raised by our supporters. There are 21 million people in the UK living with allergy and each person’s allergy is different, so Allergy UK covers the breadth of allergy which means we have a wide range of focus on, food allergy, respiratory allergy, pollen allergy, skin allergy, venom allergy, drug allergy, and anaphylaxis. We have multiple projects running at any one time – with a UK wide-reach and a busy team of only 25 staff – we multitask!

Allergy UK is connected to various national, European and global networks and groups that share our objectives. I can be attending a cross-partner meeting with healthcare professionals involved in allergy in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales or England, at a meeting at Westminster with MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Allergy, or in Brussels as I sit on a European Board representing patients with an allergy which seeks to influence European policy.   

Other parts of my day are focused on our charity’s exciting plans for the future and trying to work out how we might raise the income to be able to achieve more for those we are here to support.

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

It varies. It might be something I’ve read in an article or book, a comment made by one of the team, a call we’ve received to our Helpline from someone living with an allergy which our Helpline Advisors mention because it’s sparked an idea or something posted on Linkedin. I am lucky as we have a team which shares new innovative ideas all the time. Finding time to think is not always an easy thing – because we are such a small team covering such a large area each day is really busy – but we do bounce ideas off of each other continuously.

What is the next big thing in the charity sector?

As our society evolves our social interaction adapts to new technology and ways of connecting. Historical ways of volunteering, donating and expectations from charities for that donation are changing and our sector needs to be able to continue to provide the excellent work that we do to support others whilst finding innovative ways to raise income to enable us to continue to do this.

Allergy UK has always sought to find diverse ways to raise funds and we raise some of our funding through our own endorsement schemes, the Seal of Approval and the Allergy-Friendly Products. These are independently and scientifically tested products which may be of benefit to people affected by allergy. There is currently no cure for allergy, so our endorsements provide advice to people about useful products which might help alleviate some of the pain and pressures associated with living with allergic symptoms.

However, we still rely on donations to enable us to continue to support those living with allergy. Our Helpline receives 10,000 calls a year and costs Allergy UK £15 an hour to provide this service – so any donations we receive enable us to continue services such as this much-needed advice line.

For us and the charity sector as a whole it’s important we find channels to raise awareness of all the work that we do and people can see why we might need their donation.

How do you measure success?

Our mission is to ensure everyone living with allergy receives the best possible care and a key part of our work is consistent campaigning and networking in the background, meeting with key influencers to try to make changes in society which will help those living with allergy have a better quality of life. So, for me, when this work makes a difference – that’s a success.

Allergy UK led the research and played a key influencing role in the recent changes to legislation which from October 2017 now allow schools to now hold adrenaline auto-injectors. This took nearly three years to achieve – but for children with anaphylaxis this could save their lives in they have a severe allergic reaction at school which requires adrenaline.  Success is improving the quality of life for those living with allergic disease.

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

I am a self-confessed workaholic – especially if I am passionate about something. But everyone needs rest time and I spend mine walking the dog with my husband, losing myself in non-fiction science fantasy genre books – or hanging out with my running buddies.

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

I sometimes re-visit books that I’ve read before to refresh my thoughts. I’m reading Jim Collins ‘Good to Great’ again – to remind me of the key messages he has on how to move a good company to be a great company.

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

Loads more charity heroes – so we can learn from each other

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

“Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it”.

Attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I find it motivational. Whenever I question myself and my abilities – it always comes to mind.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?

Our Helpline is led by allergy and immunology specialists so please do contact us if you have any concerns or suspect you may have an allergy 01322 619898 – as we are here to help.

Allergy UK’s website www.allergyuk.org twitter Allergy UK 

I admit to being hopeless at keeping up with my LinkedIn –  but at least I have one ……. https://www.linkedin.com/in/carla-jones-889213135


The WeGiveIt #MYCHARITY series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their ambitions, routines and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Sara