From the Heart of Yorkshire to the Doorstep of Downing Street: A CEO's Journey for Meaningful Change
A Memorable First Visit to the Heart of British Politics
Today was a milestone for me as the CEO of Penny Appeal. I walked through the doors of 10 Downing Street for the very first time, feeling both excited and slightly overwhelmed. What’s a Bradford girl like me doing in a place like this! But with each step forward, I remembered the responsibility and honour I have to represent Penny Appeal and the voices of our incredible donors in these corridors of power.
Championing the Power of Philanthropy and British Muslim Contributions
Baroness Scott, Minister for Faith, invited me to join a roundtable discussion on charities, philanthropy, and communities. Surrounded by business leaders, representatives from big and small charities, and other stakeholders, we delved into critical questions impacting the sector and shared our experiences.
Being in that room, I felt a deep sense of duty to highlight the remarkable contributions British Muslims make through their philanthropy. As the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, "The best among you are those who bring the greatest benefits to others." Penny Appeal embodies this spirit, and even in Downing Street, our work continues to amaze people with the incredible impact we're making both at home and abroad.
Constructive Conversations and the Road Ahead
Throughout the session, we engaged in a rigorous debate and discussion on topics like mental health, arts and culture, and the role of the government in supporting charities. It was heartening to hear Baroness Scott express her admiration for our work in the cultural sphere, particularly our pioneering British Muslim Panto. She acknowledged the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in this space and expressed her eagerness to support our initiatives.
I didn't hesitate to flag how the government can do more in supporting charities and the communities they serve, especially in today's climate. While we don't expect handouts, engaging in such spaces shines a light on the unnecessary obstacles and roadblocks that charities face, often far from public view, hindering our work.
Planting Seeds for the Future
As our discussions at Downing Street came to a close, I couldn't help but reflect on the power of these conversations as seeds for the future. Just like planting seeds, we never know when one might bloom, but for now, we carry on watering the seeds we have, planting more for the future, and harvesting what's ready to share with the world.
While the outcome of today's discussions remains to be seen, our work at Penny Appeal will continue, as ever, to press on, transforming small change into a big difference for the most vulnerable. As an old saying goes, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." Let's keep planting those seeds, nurturing them, and creating a lasting impact on countless lives.
It’s not even been a month in this role as CEO and I’ve been overwhelmed at the swell of support I have received. For those who are able to, I invite you to learn more about Penny Appeal’s lifesaving appeals and discover how you can aid our efforts by visiting www.pennyappeal.or- please continue to extend your support, feedback and duas, it is all deeply appreciated.
Penny Appeal CEO
FRIDAY 17 MAR 2023