Mark Lane hosts Leonard Cheshire’s Awards in London

Mark asked to host the 2018 Staff Awards for Leonard Cheshire at the stunning Carlton House Terrace, just off the Mall and Buckingham Palace. A special moments when staff, who work above and beyond their roles, are thanked for the work they undertake.

Mark’s speech:

Thank you for inviting me to the Awards.

About a year ago, when I was filming for the BBC at the Chelsea Flower show, I got a call from this rather bouncy posh woman, who asked to come and meet and talk with me.  “We’re Leonard Cheshire!” she said cheerily, “I am coming over!”  So we all piled into a taxi and found a local café, and for two hours she told me about Leonard Cheshire, the different outreaches and programmes and how international the charity is, oh, and also how global I am …..

The bouncy woman, was of course, as you all probably know, Selina, but that lunch was really the first time I really got to know Leonard Cheshire, and it has been an amazing ride since.  What strikes me most is the mix of professionalism and passion from Danielle in communications, to Cat in UK and International Partnerships, Alyse in corporate partnerships and Susan Garner and the staff at Agate House (apologies if I have missed anyone, not intentional),

It was for these reasons that I was delighted to become a supporter of Leonard Cheshire. To agree to be part of the National Garden Scheme / Leonard Cheshire campaign for Mental Health week (which received a lot of great, positive publicity in print, as a short campaign film and on the radio). And to design a new sensory garden for Agate House, where I met some of the clients, which was a wonderful experience.

But, it is everyone, all of you here and those working further afield, that make Leonard Cheshire what it is – one of the UK’s leading charities, and the leading charity for disability. Every role makes a difference and, for someone like me who has never worked for a charity like Leonard Cheshire it is a great opportunity to meet you and find out more about the work that you all do. Leonard Cheshire helps so many people, but it is important for you all here today to look after yourselves. We all need taking care of, not just the clients. There is no surprise that I advocate gardening as a great way to benefit your physical and mental health and wellbeing, from indoor plants to pots on a balcony or an entire garden. Perhaps you should all bring in a small plant for your desks, cacti and succulents are great because they need little care and attention, and you’ll be amazed at how differently you perceive your workspace. Today, we are all here to celebrate you, the staff.

While teamwork is an important element of success, and grouping employees together has advantages in building a ‘team’ mentality, nothing beats individual attention. It is obvious to me that Leonard Cheshire as an organisation cares about its staff, an individual or team, as much as the work itself – these Awards are a clear demonstration of this. This helps you grow and change in your own way, which in turn makes your work even more exciting. Shaping the environment in which you work has a major effect on a team’s mentality, it inspires creativity and makes an office feel like a much more human, organic place to work.

Awards like this are a great way of creating an environment of transparency. It is more common for people to give negative feedback than positive feedback. This is a chance for Leonard Cheshire to say thank you to all its superstars.

The great thing, however, is that people are unique and unpredictable, with individual desires and complicated ideals, just like plants and flowers … but that’s enough from me. On to the first award.

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