IN CONVERSATION WITH… ANDY BULL
- October 26, 2020
- Posted by: Aran Knowles
- Category: Uncategorized
Through Unity had the pleasure of announcing the recruitment of Andy Bull to its board earlier this year. Andy currently works as the Head of Wealth Management UK Audit in the Internal Audit Department at UBS, and we caught up with him a couple of weeks ago to talk to him about his thoughts on the charity and its supporters.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with Andy. And if there’s anyone you’d like to see us in conversation with, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion.
Just to kick things off Andy, could you please explain to us what it is about Through Unity that inspired you to join its board?
Absolutely. A few months ago, UBS had some open sessions with ELBA (East London Business Alliance) — and I’d never really thought seriously about joining the board of a charity, but I’d always wanted to maybe get involved — and I thought I’d go along and listen to some of the pitches from the various charities who were looking for board support.
There were a few charities I was interested in, but I met Robin there, and I found listening to what he had to say about Through Unity very inspiring. He spoke about what Through Unity does, the very real problems of knife and violent crime, and how it’s important to look at those problems from the perspective of those left behind when someone is tragically killed.
So hearing about this work from Robin and looking on the website to hear some of the stories that the supporters have is incredibly moving. I wanted to get involved with a charity that was clearly doing some good and clearly doing some meaningful, difficult work — and Through Unity is exactly that. It tackles a very difficult problem, a challenging problem, but ultimately provides direct support for people who really need it. And that’s something I really wanted to be a part of.
And what kinds of expertise and knowledge are you bringing to help the Through Unity family?
On the surface, I suppose it doesn’t look like there’s much I can bring! But I’m able to help the organisation with its growth and strategic plans in order to deliver the end product of supporting the families.
There are many different ways we can do that, and so someone with my background can bring a different perspective to those challenges we face. I’ve done a lot of work in project management and people management and have had lots of exposure to different organisations and in different countries, so I’ll bring forward and harness those experiences to bring value to Through Unity.
And so Andy, what would you say your ambitions are for Through Unity?
To see it grow in its reach and impact.
Obviously you want an organisation like this to touch as many people as it can and to help as many people as it can. I think one of the factors that really draws me in to Through Unity is the work focusing on prevention and how to help deliver the message of avoiding certain paths, rather than only being there to pick up the pieces.
In an extreme scenario, you’d want Through Unity to not even have to exist, because that’d mean society has been shaped in such a way by organisations like Through Unity, where people would know there’s a different path to follow and it doesn’t always need to take them into crime or violence.
So I think Through Unity must grow, to touch as many impacted people as possible – but at the same time, it’s essential we continue to support those people, whilst at the same trying to reduce the number of people who need it by delivering on those preventative measures.
Ultimately we want to get to a point where there’s less demand for Through Unity just because society would be in a better place. I know that’s extremely aspirational, but that’s what we all want, right?
If you had to describe what is special about Through Unity, what would it be for you?
It’s difficult in a way, because my introduction has been impacted by COVID and the environment we’re in now.
I think when I started the thought process of getting involved, looking on the website and seeing the videos of the residentials, I could see how much value there was for the people already involved. I could see just how special it was for those people, and I wanted to be a part of that. But obviously that hasn’t been possible. So far my interaction with people has been virtual, and that’s quite an unusual situation to be in.
Even with that limitation, I think what’s clear is just how special the people I’m getting involved with are. To see the supporters who’ve been through what they’ve been through and have still got the strength to help others puts a lot of things into perspective. I’ve not had the exposure to charities and this sort of environment before, but to hear people’s stories, and to also see how those on the board give up so much of themselves and their time for those who’ve been affected, is very special.
And so, finally Andy, if you had a closing message for the Through Unity family members reading this now, what would it be?
I don’t want to sound clichéd, but from what I’ve observed so far, it is about the strength of character the supporters have shown, having gone through the adversity, challenges and tragedies they’ve gone through.
It’s their belief that there can be a better society that helps Through Unity deliver. It’s their strength of coming through what they’ve had to come through that helps Through Unity be a success.
We’ve got all the volunteers, trustees and board members. But ultimately for me, it’s the supporters who make Through Unity succeed.
If there’s anyone you’d like to see us in conversation with, please email email@example.com with your suggestion.