Our Time Is Now
Now is the time for small charities like Serve On to get the credit they deserve, Joanna Lumley believes.
The much-loved actress, who is a passionate campaigner and supporter of good causes, is keen not to denigrate the brilliant work of the big charities that have come under media scrutiny recently.
But she said: "The charities that I support are small ones where you can see exactly where every penny goes and the good they do."
Serve On ambassador Joanna, fresh from her acclaimed hosting of the recent BAFTA awards, was speaking before a dinner in London to raise funds for a full-time Chief Executive Officer for Serve On.
In a speech to an audience of industry leaders she said: "We desperately need a CEO.
"Serve On might be small at the moment but its passionate volunteers already achieve so much and help so many. It punches way beyond its weight.
"With your help, and with a full time CEO, it could achieve so much more."
Just a week after Serve On volunteers were earning praise for their efforts during the snow chaos, and six months after Serve On's International Response Team provided vital help in the Hurricane-hit British Virgin Islands, Joanna told the audience about some of the other remarkable disaster response and community resilience work the charity does at home and abroad.
She told them about the deployment to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, a country so close to her own heart; about the help for flood victims in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Cornwall; about our dedicated dog team; and about our brilliant Rescue Rookies.
The exclusive dinner guests, entertained in the splendid surroundings of the Cavalry and Guards Club at a meal generously sponsored by Charles Douglas of Charles Douglas solicitors, heard from chairman Paul Rose about the need for a CEO to take Serve On forward.
Charity stalwart Pete Old told the audience about the incredible journey Serve On has already been on to get to where it is now.
Joanna and the assembled guests listened spellbound as former Royal Marine Pete Dunning related the story of the life-changing injuries he suffered in Afghanistan and how Serve On had helped him, and Operational Director Dan Cooke talked of some of the extraordinary deployments he and our volunteers have been involved in.
Joanna, who instigates a fun charity initiative in her latest movie, the rom-com Finding Your Feet, and who will take her first ever live show around the country from October, encouraged all the invited guests to donate towards the cost of employing a full-time CEO to deliver Serve On's expanding humanitarian work.