Ruth Hawkins, Founding Partner

Paying it forward…. or giving back to clients and our community.

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We’ve now been open for three months. It’s been a very busy period, which Emily has already written about. But we have not forgotten that when we planned BH&O, we wanted to do things a little differently, and not lose sight of who we all are, and what we all believe in.

It’s been a key part of our plan and vision for this firm all along, that we would support Charities that we believe in, and raise funds and help in other practical ways those we know are in need.

So in the short space of time we have been open so far, what have we done?

One of the first things we decided to do, was use one of our best resources, space. We have a loft and a cellar and not much in either. Or at least until recently, not much. But we also know a number of clients who have no money and yet whose children needs clothes and equipment, and toys and books. A plea went out on social media and suddenly we find our loft and cellar filling up with clothes and cots and buggies and the like. Our idea is to make sure we keep a regular stock of essentials for clients, so that when they need something, we can help. It is a small way of making a difference.

It is also nearly Christmas, and we find ourselves helping some local and national charities with their Christmas fundraising.

We have just collected some toys and books for Abingdon Community Events, organised by the wonderful Tracey who works for Carers Oxfordshire/Age UK who put out a plea for donations of presents for up to 140 children from vulnerable and low income families in the town and surrounding area. I contacted Tracey and she explained that as well as toys and gifts, they really wanted if possible to make sure that all of those children had a chocolate selection box. Well, there she is speaking our language! This team does love chocolate….so a bit of research and a whip round, and the help from a generous friend of mine later, and 144 selection boxes were ordered from Cadbury’s, as well as a selection of toys and books from members of our generous team!

We have also raised nearly £140 so far for Abingdon Carousel. Our growing links to Abingdon Carousel are quite poignant, as they started in September like we did! For the past few years, Abingdon has not had a children’s centre, having lost its two centres in the wave of county council cuts a few years ago. But a campaign was started, and after securing some transition funding, and also town council funding, Abingdon Carousel was started at the old South Abingdon Children Centre site. It has got off to a brilliant start and is open 5 days a week and is planning on opening on a Saturday soon too. We had a stall at the recent Christmas Extravaganza and it seemed an obvious choice of charity to collect for, and we sold packets of sweets in return for a donation to this brilliant new local resource.

We are also planning a Christmas jumper day on our last working day this year for PACT a charity that means a lot to us, and which Emily, Irena and I have supported now for a number of years.

In the time that we have been open, Emily has become a Trustee of Adoption UK. Irena has continued to be a Trustee for Flag DV, and I have continued my involvement as a Safeguarding Governor for a local primary school. Helen Bishop, also continues as a School Governor for a primary school in West Berkshire.

And what for the New Year?

Well, we have sponsored a cog in an interactive art installation – or Loomstallation – at Oxford’s Children’s Hospital for Blue Skye Thinking, a charity raising money for research into childhood brain tumours. Skye was a little boy who attended my daughter’s primary school, so for me it is especially meaningful that we have sponsored this. Before he died, Skye wanted to beat the Guinness Record for a loom chain, and wanted to Loom to the Moon, and the bands used are being turned into an exciting installation being launched next Spring.

We are also planning a cake sale in February to raise money for Legal Advice Charities, through the Access for Justice Foundation.

Finally, I am thinking about organising a musical event to raise money for Helen & Douglas House. That idea is definitely in its infancy though….so more of that in 2019!

Ruth Hawkins, Founding Partner

 

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