Growing up in a violent home can really have an effect on a child’s future. Despite what my family went through I always knew I didn’t want to be one of those children and I wanted to make a good life for myself and do well in my career etc. I know that things don’t end up that way for everyone. I wanted to do what I could to help others and make a difference – especially those who may now be going through what I went through. I had always tried to ‘do my bit’ for charities from a young age and when I was in school I organised a fashion show to raise money, then in later life I took part in many events and also became part of a committee for Relay for Life (Cancer Research UK). But as I got older I know ultimately I wanted to do more for those who’d been in a situation like mine.
The organisation for which I volunteer
About 12 years ago, when I was working for a different firm, details of an event circulated for a charity called Survive. Survive was a small, local specialist domestic abuse charity. I had never heard of dedicated charity like this before and when I realised they had been operating for over 30 years in the local area, I instantly thought that help was there for my mum and me and my siblings. It made me want to do something – raise awareness and money for this cause. I thought people need to know about this charity.
What I did during my volunteering period
In the 12 years I volunteered for Survive I have been the chair of the fundraising committee, helping to raise over £75,000 for this charity. Given I worked in events at the time, I knew I could put those skills to good use. We organised many events over the years, I attended and spoke at business breakfasts, trying to encourage others (individuals and corporates) to support Survive. I also wrote a poem about my experience, hoping it would help others. My biggest personal achievement was getting Survive selected as our regional charity in 2015. We raised over £11,000 in over 2 years – the most any corporate sponsorship had raised. But more than that, we raised awareness for the charity. If, as a firm, we helped 1 person – It would be worth it.
The support from the firm
The firm supported me at every stage. Whether that was flexibility in terms attending monthly meetings or allowing me to use my volunteer days – even when Survive was not our nominated charity. The support from the entire office during our 2 years of support was amazing – so many people recognised the amazing work they carried out and supported in so many different ways – time, donations, networking and financial support from the firm. I know that the firm would be supportive of other initiatives I wanted to get involved in to continue helping those in need. That support is one of the main reasons I joined our internal Diversity & Inclusion group – the firm really has allowed me to do something I was passionate about and be my real self.