Welcome back to our Step it Up Campaign, where our aim is to inspire others to become more active in charity work by sharing stories of social responsibility.
Meet Susan Heaton-Wright
What you do for charities?
“I am a trustee for the Mid-Herts Music Centre, a volunteer dog walker for the Cinnamon Trust, and a committee member for the School PTA (which raises money for charity). My company Viva Live Music does an event for Isabel Hospice each year.”
How did this happen?
“I have always believed in ‘giving back’ and doing charity work. With the PTA, I wanted to get to know other parents and this was great. In fact a number of the committee and the head master/staff want me to be the chair but I really don’t have enough time but each year I do a fundraising event. The Cinnamon trust was for my son’s Duke of Edinburgh; I had to accompany him when doing the dog walking but we have kept it up because it is such good fun. I was approached to be a trustee for the Music Centre; it was a step up for me but I raised my game! The Isabel Hospice approached Viva Live music and we were keen to support a local charity.”
Why is this a good fit for you?
“It wasn’t until I became a Trustee of the Music Centre that I discovered that the Trust’s work enabled the students to perform in concerts. The fees paid only pay for the lessons, but not running concerts etc and this is all part of participating in music making and performing. I was able to use my experience as a professional singer and business owner to give advice and hands on help in front of house and interval refreshments roles! I caught up with so many acquaintances! With The Isabel Hospice, it is brilliant for the company because we want to support a local charity and also we can try out some new themes.”
What have you gotten out of it?
“In all cases, I have been able to grow as a person. For example, I’ve never had a dog so was able to walk and care for a dog for the first time, as well as realising that the owner’s dogs were a great comfort to her although she can’t take them for a walk herself. With the PTA, I knew no-one when my son went to secondary school and this was a good way of getting to know people. Now, I have a whole new circle of friends, and able to support other new parents who were in my position.”
What’s your advice to anyone thinking of doing this?
“People think that volunteering takes up a lot of time, but you can donate as much time as you like. By stepping up, I have run events (I’m not an event planner), delivered public speaking for the charity (this is an excellent way to gain Public Speaking experience in a non-pressurised environment). It would be easy to say “I’m too busy” or “I couldn’t do that” but volunteering has a special place in the world, where your time is highly valued. Even an hour a week could make a huge difference to someone else, and the rewards for you could be immense. Go for it: volunteer and step up!”
Please check back often for more Step it Up interviews,
and get in touch if you would like to share your own story!