Kerry Amory, social value manager at IM Properties catches up with a local charity, Cherished, and learns how the pain of one woman’s experiences helped change other people’s lives for the better and resulted in a nomination for a Pride of Britain award.
As a social value manager, I come across many inspirational stories of local charities making a difference in their community but none more so than Birmingham based Cherished.
We awarded them a grant from our Peddimore Community Fund, as part of our commitment to social value as a business.
I was really looking forward to catching up with its founder, 28-year-old Hannah Borg, a remarkable young woman who at 18 decided to do something incredible with her life to help make a better future for thousands of young girls.
Turning pain into purpose
Having had a less than happy childhood herself, Hannah says she was determined to turn her pain into purpose and ensure her challenges in early year’s growing up did not define her and she forged ahead, gaining a degree in BA Hons in youth and community work.
Then while all her friends were going out partying, Hannah sat in her bedroom and created the framework for a new mentoring programme, based on everything she wished she’d had in her life and top of her list was – to feel cherished.
Determined to make it a success, she persuaded a local headteacher to let her put her words into action with eight of their most challenging girls and see if she could get them back on track, at no cost to the school.
“I phoned up all their mums and said are you okay if I take your daughter out for a Starbucks every week and chat to them,” said Hannah. And the resounding response was yes!
And so every week for a year, Hannah met with the girls, listened to their stories and helped them find a route through to a more positive future.
Supporting 21 schools
Word soon got out of the programme’s success and before she knew it, Hannah was delivering mentoring programmes to 21 schools.
However, she was doing it all for free, with her mum and grandad helping to cover her expenses.
“I knew to really succeed, I needed a team and funding,” explains Hannah. “But for four years I tried and was unsuccessful, rejected by 20 bids until one day I applied to the National Lottery Fund.
“This was my last shot, and I gave it all I’d got and remarkably they were so impressed with my plan and passion I was awarded £250,000 to set up a team of full-time workers.”
A new motivation
Hannah describes it as possibly one of the happiest and proudest days of her life until 3 years ago when her son Abel was born.
The joy of being a parent was to be another life lesson that left her as a single parent, yet in classic Hannah style, with new motivation and direction.
From this experience came ROAR, set up to help young boys who needed a father figure in their lives.
The success of both Cherished and ROAR makes finding funding a constant struggle, with many of the local charities all after the same pots.
We were pleased to grant the full £2000 from our Peddimore Community Fund, however with monthly overheads of circa. £15,000 Hannah is on the lookout for long term funding.
“What we really need is a million pounds to really achieve our ambitions,” says Hannah. “But that’s a big ask.”
Importance of social value
“We couldn’t survive without the help and support of organisations like IM Properties. It makes a difference to so many young people’s lives.”
The Peddimore Community Fund, managed by the Heart of England Community Foundation, awards grants to local grassroots organisations surrounding our new manufacturing and logistics scheme near Minworth.
It’s not only money Cherish relies on though, it’s volunteers too and having been moved by Hannah’s story, several of our team are also looking to be mentors as part of their own commitment to social value.
So what does the future hold for Cherished? “I’d like to open a school,” says Hannah. “Dedicated to helping disadvantaged children facing challenges in the Birmingham area, where they can feel supported and cared for.”
Hannah’s got a plan too. “I’m currently talking to a large corporate and I’ve said to them, why don’t you sponsor a school. In my book, if you don’t ask you don’t get.” Adds Hannah.
“I am absolutely stunned at getting nominated for the Pride of Britain awards but I’m hoping it will help raise the profile of Cherished, so we continue on our path to creating a better future for young people.”
Anyone interested in supporting Cherished should contact https://www.cherisheduk.org