Kate Cheema, Director of Health Insights at the BHF, shares how her family will be celebrating Guru Nanak Jayanti (Gurpurab) this year. “In the run up to Gurpurab it is traditional to read the entire Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, which culminates in a service as the readers at the Gurdwara (the name for a Sikh temple). Traditionally, in our family, my husband's Grandad does his own reading at home, and we have a small family service at the culmination of this before heading to the Gurdwara to join the rest of the community for lunch. Family is the basis of Gurpurab for us; it's a chance for our kids to connect to their Sikh and Punjabi roots (and practice their language skills with their great aunts and uncles!) and for us to be present in a community that is so vibrant! It's particularly special this year after all celebrations were cancelled in 2020 and live streaming just isn't the same. We would like to wish a happy Guru Nanak Jayanti to everyone celebrating at the BHF, and to those within our communities.
Meenaxi Patel, Head of Legacy Management at the BHF, shares how her family will be celebrating Diwali this year. “This year will be my first proper Diwali in London with my husband’s family and we plan on heading into Central London for a Diwali dinner at the weekend. Being in London this year without Covid restrictions will mean we can meet in larger groups. I have quite a few get-togethers and dinners planned to celebrate with family and friends. For Diwali treats this year, I am making Chocolate Burfi and Almond, Pistachio and Kulfi shortbread biscuits; not particularly healthy but it is one day of the year that we can overindulge in yummy food - it would be rude not to!” We would like to wish a happy Diwali to everyone celebrating at the BHF, and to those within our communities.
Congratulations are in order for two BHF colleagues on being recognised by HR Magazine! Now in its 15th year, HR Most Influential, in partnership with HireRight, recognises the HR practitioners and thinkers who go above and beyond their day job to advance the HR profession and share best practice with the wider HR community. We are delighted to share that both Kerry Smith, our BHF Executive Director of People and Organisational Development, and Grace Mansah-Owusu, BHF Talent Consultant, have achieved an HR Most Influential Practitioner Award amongst only 36 in the UK. Speaking about the awards, Kerry said: “Absolutely delighted and thrilled that both Grace and I have been awarded HR Most Influential Practitioner recognition. As a peer and industry nominated and judged award, it is a great tribute to the work of the BHF and the influence we both bring within our roles and externally across sectors; particularly in light of the challenges which people functions have faced over the last two years. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us and the BHF.”
The BHF Parent’s Affinity Group were proud to host their first internal event for employees on Managing anxiety for children. Ursula Dolton, CTO & Executive Group sponsor of the Parent Affinity Group hosted the event & it was supported by Action for Children. Sue Rogers, Service Development Manager – Mental Health at Action for Children joined us to talk to our employees about how we can support our children deal with anxious thoughts and feelings. Sue covered the getting moving element to emotional wellbeing, managing change, what is resilience, managing anxious thoughts, literacy and language, CBT and more. We hope it is the first of many more successful events the Parent Affinity Group can offer our working parents at the BHF.
Our bi-annual volunteer magazine, V Mag, celebrates the work of our amazing volunteers across the country. The Summer 2021 - 60th birthday celebration edition of V Mag is available now!
As a way to encourage social interaction with colleagues across the BHF in recent months, staff have been encouraged to get involved with our ‘Random Coffee Chat’ initiative. Colleagues are randomly paired and agree to meet up (virtually) at a time that suits. It has been a huge a success, with approximately 90 regular monthly sign ups. Zoe Shaughnessy (Head of BHF Internal Communications) and Elise Meyer (Senior Marketing Executive Fundraising Engagement) share an update from their recent coffee chat: “Equipped with a brew in fancy mugs, for the photo, it was a delight to take a break and reflect on a rollercoaster of a year; a moment to reflect on the importance of the work we all do at the BHF, for the 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases and how our work is never more needed.” “It was lovely to check-in on what key things we were working on as well as all things furlough, potential house moves, gardening, favourite biscuits to dunk and the increase of sales of pets in the pandemic.”
It was an honour to welcome Joan Willett to the BHF to help us celebrate our 60th birthday this week. Joan was a Heart Hero Award winner last year following her fundraising walk leading up to her 104th birthday raising vital funds for the BHF. In total Joan raised over £60,000 for our life saving work. Joan added: "I want to thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to thank you the [British] Heart Foundation for all you did for me. Thanks to the skill of your scientists I am here today." "I was given just two more years to live, that was 23 years ago, and that's all due to you and I do thank you, very very much indeed!." Joan is a true hero and also celebrated her 105th birthday this month, double celebrations!
We're delighted to announce the winner of our 2021 Pride Month window competition as voted for by our colleagues is... Clydebank!!!! Andrea Murphy, Shop Manager says "Pride is so important as people from the LGBTQ+ community often feel isolated and that they are not accepted. The team here at Clydebank wanted to show that they are! My son recently told me and his family that he is bisexual and we have supported him 100% and made sure he knows that we love him unconditionally. We also have a volunteer who is transgender at our shop and would always want her to feel comfortable when volunteering." Massive congratulations to the team at Clydebank. We were blown away by so many amazing and creative entries our support to the LGBTQ+ community. Mark Dean, Diversity and Inclusion Lead says "On behalf of Kaleidoscope we would like to thank all of our colleagues for actively engaging with our online Pride activities, and a special shout out to our colleagues from Retail for those amazingly inventive Pride displays.
Mike Taylor, BHF Commercial Director, has been on his travels since we re-opened our shops and stores in April: “Since the retail sector re-opened I’ve had the privilege of visiting 30 BHF shops across the UK and I’ve met colleagues who are buzzing with excitement about being back and who are very positive about the future. Thanks to their incredible efforts, sales have been significantly ahead of our expectations, despite the challenges of restricting shopper and volunteer numbers and needing to build up stock donation levels, and we are well on the way to a strong retail recovery after the massive disruption of the last year. This performance reinforces the unique appeal of our, and other, charity shops – incredible value, unique choice, product sustainability and community focus delivered by passionate people, with the proceeds in our case going to fund research into the biggest cause of death in the UK. The BHF is 60 years old this summer, so I’ve set a target to visit 60 shops by then. I look forward to being able to personally thank more teams for making it all possible."
We were really pleased to welcome former professional footballer Anton Ferdinand to our 'In Conversation With' event series recently, hosted by BHF colleague Trevor Edward on behalf of our Black Affinity Group. Anton created a documentary for the BBC – Football, Racism and Me – in which he explored the issue of racial abuse in the game from a personal perspective. Drawing on the themes from the documentary, Anton spoke to us about his own story and what needs to be done to address the problem of racism in football – and more broadly in society – today.