Want to do some good and benefit your business?
Here's a very simple thing you can do. Book a one hour advice session with me and I'll donate the full fee to the Ukrainian family I'm hosting.
The family left Mariupol when their home was bombed and have just the bare essentials. They're going to be living rent-free in my holiday cottage. I'm trying to support them by paying utility bills, and buying the things they need to get settled here, such as school uniform, some trauma counselling and English language lessons (these are available through public bodies but over-subscribed, with a waiting list).
Whether you have a particular marketing problem you want to solve, or just want some ideas to boost your business, you can use the hour however you want.
It's easy. I'll send you some possible times for a zoom call. You tell me what you'd like to call about. You can send links to your website, social media or any other marketing if you want or just have a general marketing chat.
The cost is just £50+VAT, which I'll use to support O, K, N & V. See below for a little more information about them and their experiences.
It's a win-win situation: you'll benefit your business and help a lovely family recover from the horrors of the Ukrainian war. By the end of your session, you'll have some next steps actions and clarity around whatever marketing topics are occupying your mind.
The family we're hosting are so lovely: three generations from Mariupol. They need a lot of help and support after what they've been through. Despite incredible challenges, they are positive and determined to settle in Masham until the war is over. When they arrived at Robin Hood Airport, their first comment was about the air, and how fresh it smelt. Since then, this has been a recurrent topic, together with their delight at being able to drink fresh water straight from the tap. These kind of comments have definitely made me more grateful for all I have.
The family were caught up in the Mariupol siege, living in a basement without fresh food or water. They describe how they made 'tea' using a can and some twigs to clean and heat up a cup of dirty water. Sometimes they hid with their son under a bed while the bombing went on overhead. Another Ukrainian friend said they didn't want their 4-year old to be afraid so told him the bombing was only thunder. This went on for weeks until there was a break in the shooting and bombing when they could escape. When there were in the siege they had no electricity, no internet and no connection with the outside world so had no idea what was happening elsewhere and if there were still any safe places left.
They lived for two weeks in their car as they tried to drive to safer places. Even in a supposedly safer town in another area of Ukraine, there were nightly air-raids. They left in a hurry with only Winter clothes, no toys for their 7-year old son. Their care windscreen was smashed by an explosion and took a long time to get mended. We've seen another Ukrainian's car in Masham whose side is punctured with holes - the shrapnel from a cluster bomb. One family left with only their clothes and some food. They said they were so traumatised at having to leave quickly they just ran from room to room, not knowing what to bring so they just filled a bag with food.
Now they are starting to settle to life here. The 7-year old boy was scared of dogs but within minutes our 3 Springer spaniels showered him with spaniel-love. They are now firm friends and our dogs have become bi-lingual! His first English words were 'sit, stay, come'... He spends a lot of time playing and talking to them - a kind of therapy I think.
We're hoping that his father will make it to Masham soon. He was trying to drive over to England, having got permission to do so but then was asked to take some cancer drugs and painkillers back to a relative in Mariupol who is too ill to move. He then needed to board up the windows of their house to prevent further damage from explosions. Imagine having to leave sick relatives in a house surrounded by fighting? He's now trying to leave Mariupol to come to his family here.
Every now and then a low-flying plane or the distant sound of a clay-pigeon shooting competition startles and scares them, and they look to us for reassurance. I think it will take a while before sudden noise stops being upsetting for them.
It's been an eye-opener helping the family to settle in, not just because of the horrors they have told me about, but because of the paperwork and complexity of helping them to access support. I'm spending a lot of time helping them to complete the many government, bank, school and medical forms. The language barrier is a big one. The family lived in a Russian-speaking area so use both Ukrainian and Russian.I studied some Russian over 30 years ago, and have been surprised at how much I remember. Google Translate is brilliant, but there are many mis-translations and lots of confusion - mainly things we can laugh about.
Despite the frustrations, there are many upsides too. People in Masham have been incredibly kind and welcoming. The family are gradually feeling more able to enjoy simple pleasures such as a barbecue with us, and time just sitting by the river in our garden. We're seeing everything through their eyes, and really appreciating what we have, so glad to be able to share it. We're only able to help one family, but it's a real privilege to be able to do so.