With a successful 35-year career in the photographic industry behind him, when Bernard Petticrew was made redundant, the opportunity to become a volunteer for a local charity appealed on two levels: to fill up his spare time and also to give something back.
Referred to PSPA through his local volunteering bureau in 2008, Bernard started out giving his time freely one day per week to help the charity circulate its information to libraries around the UK through collation of valuable data.
When a full-time post as an administration assistant became available in June 2009, Bernard jumped at the chance to be of further help to the charity as it grew. Within days, he was introduced to the world of trust applications, and how this could boost fundraising for PSPA.
After a torrid time sorting out the paper filing system, Bernard soon found a regular system for approaching trusts and institutions for funding. His new role was successful, in his first six months bringing in a total of £90,000, exceeding the £70,000 that had been brought in across the previous 12 months, an uplift of 38%. Bernard says of these early days, “I surprised myself that I was good at something that I never considered could be a career for me”.
Eventually joined by other team members, they got to grips with building the right relationships, knowing who to talk to and at which institutions, analysing funding patterns, and working out what causes they like to donate to. Over Bernard’s ten years with PSPA, he and the trusts team have raised a huge £2 million in funding for PSPA.
Bernard’s biggest strengths are experience and persistence; knowing which trusts are interested in the work PSPA are doing, where multi-year funding might be available, and what level of funding is available (hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands).
Today, the trusts team sends out applications for funding worth in excess of £1.5 million each year, which equates to 10-15 bespoke applications per week. These are not standard letters, they are often very complex documents that require personalised financial information/facts and figures, but at the heart of each is describing the problem, the solution PSPA wants to achieve, and how the funding will help towards that goal.
Over the years, the trusts team has a success rate of between 12 and 20%, and across Bernard’s career with PSPA, has brought in a huge £2 million towards research and support for those affected with PSP and CBD.
Bernard is very positive about his time with PSPA, commenting “this has been the most satisfying job I’ve ever had, making a real contribution instead of being a cog in the works. It’s really important, PSP and CBD are rare diseases and more progress needs to be made to find a cure”.
With ten years and one week’s service under his belt, Bernard is now looking forward to his retirement, “putting my feet up” and doing some European travelling around cathedrals and museums. He has committed to PSPA as an ongoing micro-volunteer, and will help out when his time allows. With some experience cheering on runners at the London Marathon, we hope to see him there again!
The final words are left to Bernard: “When I look back at my ten years with PSPA and the amount we raised for research and support for those with PSP and CBD, I am proud of the impact that I made. When a cure is eventually found, I can say that I made a big contribution towards it.”