I am lucky enough to be a part of Gemserv’s talent management programme, an 18 month programme that provides personal and career development, whilst supporting diversity and innovation within the company.
As part of this, I was delighted to be asked to complete an eight-week placement at one of our in-house charities that we support throughout the year. I have been working with Us In A Bus, a charity that offer opportunities for people with profound learning disabilities and complex needs. During my first week, I travelled to Redhill to meet the CEO, Victoria Goody to find out more about their amazing work and discuss the project that they wanted me to complete.
Feeling inspired by what I had just learnt about the charity, I looked at the project document presented in front of me, “Find me a Patron” and already I was raring to go. Us In A Bus is a small charity which relies on the kindness of donations to keep providing care. They were looking for a high-profile patron who would understand the importance of their work and could help to spread awareness of it. The task was set and now it was time to set out a timeline:
Week 1 – Source potential patrons
Week 2 – Develop communications to send
Week 3 – Send communications
Week 4 – Follow up on communications and report back to Us In A Bus (hopefully with a new patron!)
There were many potential patrons for Us In A Bus, but it was important to the charity that the person selected would have a meaningful connection to their work. With this in mind, I wrote personal letters to a number of high-profile individuals, tying their specific role of interest back to the charity, in the hope that they could see the significant difference their role as a patron could make.
Within three days, I was pleasantly surprised to have an inbox full of replies. One email in particular caught my attention, from the management company of Adam Pearson, award-winning campaigner, actor and presenter. Adam has neurofibromatosis type 1, a condition which causes non-cancerous tumours to grow on nerve tissue and he has recently presented several high-profile documentaries on the BBC tackling stigma around disability. Adam is a fantastic advocate for people with disabilities, making him a perfect match for Us In A Bus.
Adam said, “As soon as I heard about the work of Us In A Bus, I was keen to contribute to the charitable mission of this small but important organisation.”
After I organised a meeting between Adam and the team at Us In A Bus, it was made official; Adam is their new patron and I had officially completed my mission. It was a real privilege to work with the charity on this project and I took a lot from the experience. I look forward to seeing Adam’s work to help spread the word and support Us In A Bus in continuing to help many people. Victoria is still keen for me to sign up Meghan Markle and David Beckham, so… to be continued!