Paul Morrish is Chief Executive of LandAid, a charity set up to encourage the property industry to unite to end youth homelessness. As strategic partners, LandAid and the Mace Foundation have been working together since 2013 to raise awareness of, and funds for, the 100,000 young people who experience homelessness in the UK each year.
- Tell us about LandAid.
LandAid started as the brain child of a group of enthusiastic people who saw Live Aid and Band Aid and thought “the property industry should be doing something to help”. In the early days money was fundraised to help people in other parts of the world, such as Africa, but more recently the charity has focused on homelessness in the UK.
This year, we’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary. Over three decades we’ve done some amazing things and have achieved a huge amount. We now have 82 property companies that actively support the work we do – whether it’s through donations, voluntary work or giving us a platform to help spread the word.
- How did you first get involved with the Mace Foundation?
- Mace Foundation became one of our partners in June 2013. It was clear from the offset that there was a real overlap in terms of aims and goals. Mark Reynolds [Mace Chief Executive and Mace Foundation Chairman] really impressed us early on by pledging 50 pro bono days from Mace to support our projects. He joined the Board as a trustee in 2014 and his commitment has been fantastic.
- What does your relationship with the Mace Foundation enable you to do?
Most of the grant funding that we’ve received through the Foundation has been invested in our ‘sponsor a home’ campaign. There are a lot of unused properties across the UK and £30,000 typically enables us to renovate a two bedroom property, which we can then use to provide long-term accommodation for one or two young people.
The campaign also creates work opportunities for young people to get involved in so that they can learn new skills. The majority of the projects offer work experience for the very people who need support for accommodation.
“Mace is, by far, one of the most exuberant and positive companies I’ve ever come across. ”
- What has been your most memorable moment in your work with the Mace Foundation?
A real highlight was when we received an additional £10,000 from the Mace Foundation to start up a programme called ‘Young Voices’. We used the money to support four young people who had been affected by homelessness and who had turned their lives around, to go out to companies, youth groups and schools and talk about their experiences and show other vulnerable young people that help is available.
The programme has been hugely successful and has given the four Young Voice ambassadors something to be really proud of. It has also broken down barriers in terms of how other people see young individuals who have experienced homelessness.
- What have you enjoyed most about working with the Mace Foundation?
Mace is, by far, one of the most exuberant and positive companies I’ve ever come across. They are way out on a limb in terms of the support they give to LandAid, they’re incredible and fun to work with and we’ve always felt that they’ve got our back.
Right through the company, it’s the same. Absolutely everyone, from the Board to the graduates and even Mace’s clients are just wonderful. Either they recruit really lovely people or they put them through the lovely mill in their first few weeks.