Next up in our Charity Champion series is Alison Newall, a co-owner who we greatly admire for her charitable activities. Here she tells us about the volunteer work she’s been diligently undertaking for not just one but two charities(!) in her spare time - The Samaritans and Dogs Trust. Alison shows us a prime example of how acting on a need to do more can flourish into something truly fulfilling.
"Although I support a number of different charities there are two that are particularly close to my heart.
I’ve supported the Samaritans via monthly direct debit for over 30 years as I know just how important the work they do is, but a couple of years ago I decided it was time to do something more. I signed up as a listening volunteer back in 2019 and by March 2020, having completed my training and several listening sessions with my mentor, I was able to start taking calls on my own (although there is always support on hand from another listener and the team leader should I need it). This was just as the country went into lockdown and when the Samaritans were needed more than ever. I find it challenging at times but also rewarding and I’m now part of our branch’s Volunteer Support team which is set up to ensure that our volunteers get all the support they need. I’m looking forward to lockdown restrictions easing and being able to get out there and raise funds for them as the usual “bucket-shaking” collections have been suspended for the safety of all.
My other favourite charity is Dogs Trust. I’d wanted to own a dog my entire life but the circumstances were never quite right, so I supported Dogs Trust via monthly donations. Four years ago, circumstances changed and I was able to adopt Ziggy from Dogs Trust in Manchester. He keeps me entertained and active and I keep him fed! During February I’m raising funds for them by doing 99k for canines – walking with Ziggy at least 99kilometers in February though not all at once I hasten to add. There’s been a vast increase in dog ownership during lockdown and there’s a real concern that this will lead to more dogs being abandoned, so I’ll continue to support the charity and help every dog find its forever home."