22 July 2019

UKFast Director of People Arlene with award-winner Grace onstage at the UKFast Community and Education Awards

UKFast Director of People Arlene with award-winner Grace onstage at the UKFast Community and Education Awards

One of the first questions that people ask me is what my proudest achievement is. It would be easy to assume, looking from the outside in, what that could be.

Nowadays, yes I am fortunate enough to live a comfortable lifestyle and drive a nice car, but in reality I am still that lad from Denbigh whose greatest joy is being on the top of a mountain in all weathers!

It was as that North-Wales kid that I learned some truly valuable lessons. I watched as my family strived to create a better life for us children. As my mother, a school teacher at the time, supported the pupils and their families. And as the small-town community rallied together whenever times called for it.

There is no denying that growing up in that environment had a profound impact on my life, and continues to do so to this day. That is why my answer to the question ‘what I am most proud of’ is simple. In fact, the thing I am most proud of isn’t really mine.

Showing some local school children around UKFast and our first studio.

There is nothing greater in business than being able to give back and support those around you who need it. At UKFast, we do this through the UKFast Community and Education Trust. Working with schools and charities across Greater Manchester, we do what we can to support young people across the region. But there is always more that can be done.

It was this that motivated UKFast MD Gail to launch the UKFast Community and Education Awards to recognise those who are making a difference to the world around them.

UKFast Community and Education Awards

Now in its second year, last week the event handed out 14 awards to remarkable people impacting schools and the community across Greater Manchester.

Winners included a team of young woman who created a website to log cyber-bullying instances; a young women who escaped the atrocities of active warzones in Syria and Iraq, to earn a place at the University of Law, all while caring for her mother and sister.

UKFast at the Children's Adventure Farm Trust - real business success

Some of the team at UKFast volunteering at the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust.

There was also eight-year-old Grace, who enjoyed being on stage so much, she had a little stint presenting the event! Grace won the Young Community Hero of the Year. Having seen a young girl whose hair had fallen out due to cancer treatment, Grace decided to raise more than £500 for Francis House Children’s Hospice and cut off her hair, donating it to the Little Princess Trust. The Trust turn donated hair into wigs for children suffering with cancer.

I was moved by the stories of every finalist and winner on that stage. To see so many people doing what they can to make a difference was inspiring to say the very least. I am so proud that we are able to acknowledge that effort and the impact they’re having.

For me, we have to give children and young people a voice. They are the next generation and will be the ones who transform our world for the better or worse. It is all of our responsibilities to help make sure that these young people get the best start in life, to set them up for an incredible future.

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