I’d been looking for a non-exec role for a while but hadn’t come across one where I thought I could really make a significant difference. I certainly didn’t think I’d be sporting a hard hat and hi-vis jacket anytime in the near future.
Picture left to right: Ruth Chapman, Press Officer, BAi360; Linda Saltwell, TDC CEO; Paul Bramwell, TDC Chair of Trustees; Adam Muirhead, TDC Projects Manager, Young People; Nikki Gatenby, MD Propellernet, TDC Trustee
That was until Linda Saltwell,the CEO of the Trust for Developing Communities (TDC) got in touch with me in August last year to ask if I would consider being a trustee.
When Linda shared with me some of the shocking statistics of what is happening in our local community, I was compelled to get involved. This is what Propel Days were made for.
Child poverty is very high in our area:
- 50% of children in Moulsecoomb live below the poverty line
- 46% of children in Brighton in 20% of most deprived areas of England
- A poor child is likely to become a poor adult and be more susceptible to falling into homelessness and crime. A poor adult has a less positive future and is expensive to support
- There is a ten year difference between life expectancy for a man in Whitehawk and a man in Hove, with Hove higher
TDC’s work is very much about changing this. Since their inception in 2002, they have inspired a generation of our community to help themselves. But funding is under pressure and it is going to be hard to sustain going forward.
TDC work with local communities to create positive change. Last year alone they helped 6,000 people in our community, with a strong focus on children and young people.
As one example out of hundreds, TDC bid for Sport Relief funding to develop the Moulsecoomb Boxing Ring, so children could enjoy a place to meet, take part in sport and feel safe. One of them shared his experience of changing his horizons by improving his life chances:
“I’ve gone from nothing, to being a national champion”
Max, aged 14
He has a future and a security that simply wasn’t possible before.
Beyond these people TDC helps and partners with, the charity is relatively unknown – everything they do is focused on working to help change lives, hardly anything on marketing. All the work they do goes on delivery of projects and community support. They work with anyone who needs them.
They really are a charity with 360 degree impact; it’s life changing.
So when Linda and I were talking, we commented on the BAi360 being built down on the seafront and wondered if they had a charity partner on board. It’s funny how numbers connect ideas.
So I phoned Sean Watkins, the Marketing Director of BAi360 to ask. He said:
“Your timing is immaculate. In the next few weeks, we’re looking to ask a number of charities to pitch to be our partner.”
This is when it clicked for me that we could make a significant difference. I’ve done many, many pitches in my time – but this one wasn’t about marketing products and services, this was about focusing all our efforts on helping people in our community.
- We got the brief in February this year. We were rank outsiders, we knew that
- We pitched in March, knowing we were a really long shot, with some really stiff competition
- The day before Mother’s day we found out we were down to the last two, and sitting round the table with my family on Mother’s day I felt blessed at how lucky we are to live the life we do- compared to so many people, right on our doorstep
- And after going through more rounds of pitching the strategy and ideas, I’m delighted to say that TDC were appointed charity partner with BAi360 on Thursday 7 April 2016 with our Aim High, Go Far strategy
The BAi360 opens in July/August this year and this partnership is as game changing for awareness and fundraising for TDC, as it is for the people they help.
And it’s been pretty game changing for me too.
Talk about Making Life Better.