Our partnership with Bristol Mutual Society, National Friendly, recently came to an end. To mark the occasion, St Mungo’s Regional Fundraising Manager, Kat Lacy, was invited to their offices and presented with a cheque for £11,650, raised by staff at the organisation. Neil Thompson, CSR Member at National Friendly’s tells us more.
National Friendly has for 150 years had an ethos of helping those prepared to help themselves. With just a little assistance in talking to people and treating them with respect, St Mungo’s services can transform lives and give that momentum that many need to get their life back on track.
I have noticed an alarming increase in the number of people living on the streets in central Bristol. I personally find it hard, in my business suit, to walk past people who are asking for money. Occasionally, I will stop and help someone. However, I still feel that pang of guilt in my stomach every time I don’t.
In 2014, when we left our Clifton office to move to Queen Square, we had some branded National Friendly mugs to give away. We visited St Mungo’s and they were very grateful. I remembered the visit.
So when the Society asked for nominations for charity of the year, I got the opportunity to nominate a cause which could, via my place of work, enable me to help a large number of the unemployed at least for a while.
When St Mungo’s was announced as our charity, the visit we received from them included personal stories from people who had been homeless, but who now had hope and a new career helping others on the streets.
Our staff took part in a number of calorific bake sales, a long distance walk, various sporting sweepstakes and competitions and a corporate quiz night. We also took part in a number of gardening working party events with St Mungo’s.
It is sad to hear criticism of those who for a variety of reasons, fall out of the comfort zone of regular accommodation and family support. What I learned was that staff at National Friendly were very supportive of the cause and were happy to dip into their pockets again and again.
It costs around £17 per night to put someone in secure accommodation at St Mungo’s so our donation has paid for 675 nights!
Thanks to all colleagues and friends for their support.