Charity and Chance

NB Team

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Today, Cen, from our design team, talks about a chance conversation which sparked a new passion for a charity.

I have always pondered whether things happen by chance, or if outcomes are the direct sum of our choices. I am sure you can all relate one way or another. Just like me, you may think of things like… “Oo, if I had attended that event I’d have met David Beckham… I guess there’s always next time…” but is there?

So here’s an interesting story which I have to share – it happened a few months ago, but it relates to a moment which occurred recently, all because of chance. I was in York, enjoying the beautiful landmarks and prancing through the Christmas markets. Weaving through the cobbled streets, I stumbled on an art gallery. I was immediately drawn to a beautiful piece of art resembling the streets of London.

While gazing at Richard Barnes’ work, the gallery owner started to chat. We talked about my interest in art and my career in design. As we had a conversation, somebody else came in and joined us in talking. The gentleman happed to be a good friend of the gallery’s owner and a local businessman. He was intrigued by the fact that I was a junior designer starting out in London at a PR agency. He mentioned a love of paper. I told him that I loved paper too! Especially the ultimate paper company, the one and only GFSmith. I was in paper-geek heaven. We both said the words “Colour Plan” and knew we had a paper connection!

At this point, I noticed he had something like 30 pairs of socks hanging out of his jacket pocket, and, as most people would, I asked why?! It turns out he’s a part of a charity called suited and booted:

The charity helps to dress homeless men and women for job interviews – a fantastic initiative. It gives some of the most vulnerable people in society a helping hand, and that’s something we can all admire. All too often we walk by the homeless, most of us don’t know the stories behind how they have become homeless, or how desperate they are to get off the streets.

So then back to the story…. we exchanged business cards and I thought I have to give back to this charity somehow, as it’s a brilliant idea. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a homeless man with a sign which read, “Don’t want money. I want a job.”

Had I not been in that gallery in York, I wouldn’t have had a clue how to help. I wrote down the Suited and Booted address for him. He looked a bit surprised that someone had stopped at peak commuter rush hour with something practical that might help him. I go the same way quite often, but I haven’t seen him there. I really hope he was able to get the help he needed.

It was pure chance that led me to be able to be in that gallery in York, to have one conversation which led to another. It was chance that led me to help someone, and I’m really glad of it. Even if it only made a small difference in the grand scheme of things.

At Nelson Bostock, we get a Charity Day, where we can take the day off and help with whichever charity we want to support. The only condition is that you have to report back to the rest of the agency about your day – which hopefully helps to inspire others! I want to use mine soon, so keep an eye out for my blog post!