We caught up with one of West Yorkshire Community Fundraisers, Angela Vyas to discuss what it’s like working for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and to see what a typical day for a YAA fundraiser looks like.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Angela Vyas and I’m a Community Fundraiser for West Yorkshire. I live in Chadderton, which is technically in Lancashire, but I live close to the motorway, so it’s very easy to cross the border and travel around Yorkshire. I’m married and I live with my husband who’s a Hindu priest.
As part of my role, I cover the whole of West Yorkshire booking in and managing in store promotions in garden centres, medical centres and supermarkets such as the Tesco Blue Token Scheme and ASDA Green Living. I also work with various community groups to spread the word about our charity.
Why did you decide to work for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance?
I started my career in education and then went into self-employment for 15 years, where I ran my own complementary health magazine. I loved and adored my job, but everything was going digital and it was something that I wasn’t passionate about, so I wanted to leave on a high and start a new challenge.
The charity sector appealed to me because of the charity work I do voluntary for the Indian Association Oldham and because I enjoy networking and making money for good causes. It’s great waking up every day knowing that you’re making a difference.
What does your typical day look like?
There’s no typical day for a fundraiser, every day is different. For example, this morning I’m in the office to pick up some merchandise and then later I’m going to set up a stall at a local beer festival, hosting a stall at a local bus station and then I’m going to Brighouse for a cheque presentation.
One day I could be at a stall in a supermarket and the next day at a gala or fete. No two days are ever the same and that’s what keeps my job exciting.
When you have the time to be at your desk, you can start planning. I plan very well in advance. It’s a challenge, looking at different areas and different aspects that will raise the charity’s profile, but it’s something I really enjoy doing.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The variety, being able to network and being able to raise the profile of such an important cause. I also enjoy going to events that I would have never heard about such as Jazz festivals.
It also gives me a lot of job satisfaction when someone comes up to you and tells you that the Yorkshire Air Ambulance has saved their life or the life of someone they know. It’s great knowing that by working for the YAA, that you’re making a difference.
What is your most memorable aspect of the charity so far?
One of my most memorable moments was a phone call from the Bishop Konstant Catholic Academy Trust schools in Wakefield. They had chosen us as their Charity of the Year and wanted to raise £12,000 for us, but ended up raising £16,000. When they called up to tell me, we were both crying with happiness. It’s amazing to see smaller groups achieving fundraising success and I love getting involved and building those relationships.
Hinduism is a major part of your personal life, has this helped with networking and building relationships as a fundraiser?
One of my personal goals is to work with more ethnic communities and networks. We want to show that the Yorkshire Air Ambulance caters for all faiths. I’ve been using my faith to appeal to wider community groups as I’m able to speak Hindi, I’m familiar with different languages and able to converse in Punjabi. This helps when delivering talks in places such as temples or mosques.
We have such a diverse culture in the UK and we’re here for everybody regardless of their religion.
What would you say to others looking to become a fundraiser
I would say, don’t think its 9-5, because it certainly isn’t a 9-5 job. You can switch off, but the more you give, the more you get back. You need a passion to get out into the community, network with other groups and not be afraid to try new ideas. Sometimes new ideas don’t always work, but you can learn from them. Fundraising is always changing and we’re always looking for innovative, future proof ideas.