Sport Relief Glasgow fundraiser takes a trip to Africa to meet the children she’s helped

A Glasgow fundraiser has made an emotional trip to Africa to visit some of the people and projects she’s helped raise money for over the years.

A Glasgow fundraiser has made an emotional trip to Africa to visit some of the people and projects she’s helped raise money for over the years.

Yvette Blaney, 46, a resource manager for BT’s call centre in Glasgow, has organised fundraising events for several years, including BT’s support of telethons for Sport Relief, Comic Relief and Children in Need in Glasgow.

The mum-of-one was one of a handful of volunteers chosen for the once-in-a-lifetime trip out of hundreds of people nominated by their BT colleagues across the UK.

The group spent six days in South Africa visiting Sport Relief projects in Lesotho and Johannesburg, which BT backs through its charity partnership with Comic Relief and Sport Relief, The Supporters Club.

The projects include Kick for Life (K4L), which engages local children through football to educate them about HIV; a service which provides free legal support for people facing unlawful evictions; and a boxing club supporting abused youngsters.

The experience proved deeply moving for Yvette, who said: “This trip has given me the most rewarding and emotional experience of my life so far - I found myself in tears at times.

“It was so moving to see first-hand the brilliant work of the projects supported by Sport Relief and the BT Supporters Club in South Africa. I’ve been deeply inspired by the determination of those affected by HIV in Lesotho, and humbled by the willpower and strength of the young crusaders against sexual abuse in Johannesburg.

“It's hard to put into words but I do wish to spread one simple message - anyone can make a difference, whether volunteering for an international charity or helping someone in your own local community. We can all make a difference.”

On the trip, Yvette also spent time with a Sport Relief project which tries to reduce sexual violence in schools. Children from the People Opposing Women’s Abuse (POWA) project, which is attempting to change attitudes and promote healthy behaviours, entertained the group by singing.

“The children made us feel very welcome and as a mother of an 18-year-old daughter myself, I was proud that I am able to play a small part in helping girls far away in Africa,” continued Yvette. “From eating worms, to travelling on six flights, this is a trip I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Liz Turner, BT’s head of corporate social responsibility in Scotland, said: “Yvette’s achievements are incredible and I was pleased to nominate her for this trip, to see how the money she helps raise is spent.

“She gives up loads of her personal time to co-ordinate hundreds of people for our telethons, which are so well supported by the brilliant BT people in Glasgow. Her commitment and organisational skills inspire others to support these brilliant charities, which BT is proud to help. We’re pleased to give our employees up to three days of working time each year for community and charitable work.”

BT’s MyDonate platform handles the donations during the appeals for Sport Relief, as well as for Comic Relief and Children in Need. BT people across Scotland take part in fundraising activities to support the charity, as well as handling donation calls at centres in Dundee, Glasgow and Greenock. Last year, more than 400 BT people in Scotland supported telethons by taking donation calls. In 2016, BT people raised more than £500,000 for Sport Relief.

Customers can find out more about the work of The Supporter’s Club online at www.thesupportersclub.org