The day we went to No 10
As Charitable Giving Executive, I've been very lucky on a number of occasions to see how our donations of our partner charities make a difference and have also been invited to some wonderful charity events. These have been in a number of different venues and locations including respite centres, schools, rehabilitation centres and buses!
On this occasion, Sarah Ford, Matthew Main and I received an invite to No 10 Downing Street from Mrs Samantha Cameron, Patron of Revitalise, a charity which provides respite breaks and holidays for people with disabilities and for carers. This was to celebrate the launch of its new Impact Reports and a new survey highlighting the enormous benefits of volunteering.
I must admit I was wondering what it would be like in No10 and I was pleasantly surprised! It was very smart and full of history with all the former prime ministers pictures on the staircase leading up to the function room. The rooms at the front of the house are for work and events and the back is where the Prime Minister and his family live. We had to leave our mobiles in the reception - had it been my daughter I think they would have had a fight on their hands!
Once in the event room it was amazing to see so many people both from the charity itself and those who had supported either by volunteering or fundraising mixing and catching up on past friendships and associations. I spent time with two of the Trustees for the Charity, Gavin Wright and David Robinson who were very passionate about the charity and the role they play.
Samantha Cameron joined the group and we were introduced to her by Mindy Sawhney, the Chair of Revitalise. Samantha wanted to know how long we have been supporting Revitalise which is around three years now. It was a brief encounter but lovely to meet her.
She then spoke to the group explaining how important the work of Revitalise is and how unique it is in its approach to carers and disabled alike. She also relayed how much she appreciated their work having had a disabled son herself and the need to have time out now and again. She then left to put her youngest child to bed and to make sure that her children had done their homework.
My personal reflection on the evening was that Revitalise is a fantastic charity which truly values all the people they work with, especially their volunteers who without their help they could not do as much as they do. Revitalise has provided over 5,000 breaks a year for disabled people and carers and 4,244 weeks have been worked by volunteers in 2014.
It amazed me how many young people are volunteers at Revitalise. I've visited one of the centres and met not only staff, but guests and volunteers. I always get a warm greeting and treated like one of the family, which is why I suppose it feels so different to some places. The family feel makes it seem like a real home from home which makes it easier for those on their first visit to feel supported and not isolated.
Thank you very much to Mrs Samantha Cameron for inviting us all and for hosting a fantastic event.