Year One done and dusted - Scottish Collaboration has begun


Back in March 2017, I attended a Business Gateway workshop in Edinburgh. The Business Adviser’s there told us to set clear business goal and make sure it is something you can relate to, something big and meaningful.  I remember coming away from the workshop and reflecting on this.  I had worked in the pharmaceutical business world for over 27 years so setting up challenging Sales and Revenue targets was something I was familiar with. However, this workshop made me dig deeper, think bigger and search for something more meaningful.  

That simple thought process triggered the idea of setting a goal for Cheemia to invest part of the company profits in local projects in Scotland that promoted and addressed health and social inequality.  I remember clearly how much this goal excited and motivated me and gave me a real buzz, knowing that our success would go on to be part of something much bigger than us and our business.

Our first year of trading ended in April and I was delighted that we not only hit our financial targets but exceeded them and so were able to deliver our promise to support a local project.  I started actively looking for potential projects in Scotland that we could support.  A friend of mine Sarah Adams, a Project Manager for NHS Lothian, spotted a local grass roots charity called “Bike for Refugees Scotland” and she helped me get in touch with Stephen McCluskey, the Project Leader.  

Stephen spotted a real need amongst the Refugee community who are settled in Scotland. He realised that the majority of refugees were settled in locations outside the main cities and in order for them to attend their language classes, workshops or appointments they had to travel to town. However, as they live on a very tight budget of five pounds a day, using buses as a mode of transport would be too expensive so most of them opted to travel on foot.  Stephen told me that some of the refugees had to walk 4 hours a day to get to town.

The aim of the Bike for Refugees Scotland charity is to repair donated bikes and provide kit for refugees, so they have a means of transport.  They also do a lot of work with women who have never had an opportunity to ride a bike due to religious or social restrictions in their own native country.  

I was inspired by the Bike for Refugees Scotland Charity. As I watched the video they had put together that tells the stories of real people who live in Scotland I could see clearly how they have had a positive impact on the lives of so many people and have given them not only a mode of transport, but they have offered them hope and a warm Scottish welcome. 

And talking of warm welcomes I was delighted to meet Mark Beaumont yesterday, a great supporter of this charity.  I first met Mark in 2016 during a 4-day London to Paris charity ride for Myeloma UK.  Mark was our ride captain and it was fascinating to hear his tales of travels on his bike around the world and even thoiugh I had not seen Mark for a couple of years, I often spotted his bike at Edinburgh airport. 

Mark did a presentation yesterday and talked about his 80 Day around the world challenge that he did on his bike last year. He had to ride an average of 240 miles per day every day for 2.5 months.  I recalled the pain and agony I felt during the London to Paris ride which was only 4 days and the longest distance we rode was about 85 miles. To ride distances of 240 miles every day through rain and shine requires much more than physical fitness, it requires a mental toughness that I have not often come across. 

Listening to Mark reinforced the idea that the key to success in anything, whether it be business or otherwise, comes down to three simple things:

  1. A clear uncompromising goal
  2. A clear plan to deliver that goal
  3. The discipline to stick to the plan no matter what.

Yesterday I went in to present the charity with a cheque and came away with a lot more. I am totally inspired by the Charity’s work and Mark Beaumont's tenacity, drive and determination. This is the stuff that puts the fire in my belly and inspires me to work harder next year so perhaps we could play our part to support giving back to our community and support the projects that promotes and addresses health and social inequality here in Scotland.