We can’t believe we’re already at the Septmeber edition of Cedar Garden Sessions! Almost two years of stories have flown by! As always, Hannah, Digital and Web Manager, interviews a member of the Penny Brohn UK team to find out more about them and the work they do behind the scenes to keep our services up and running.

This month, Hannah speaks with Sophie Thomas, Penny Brohn UK’s brilliant community fundraising officer.

Thanks for joining me today Sophie. We’re stealthily avoiding the Cedar Garden today due to the rain but it looks like the garden team are still out and about keeping the grounds in check! 

Yeah they’re out there come rain or shine!

So Sophie, how did you come to work for Penny Brohn UK?

I grew up in Dorset but lived in Sheffield for 7 years having studied there and then stayed for another 4 years because I loved it so much. It felt time to move back down South closer to family so I packed up my life and travelled Asia for 6 months before settling on moving to Bristol. Bristol had big boots to fill and it has not disappointed!

It is a great city! Did you get the job at Penny Brohn straight away?

Not quite. I worked in a temporary role at Leigh Court whilst settling in. I live in Clifton Village and started to see Penny Brohn’s collection tins everywhere so when I saw the job ad I just had to apply; and here I am!

Ah great, it’s fab when all the pieces fall into place like that. So what does your role involve?

My role involves working with all of Penny Brohn’s lovely supporters and helping as they raise vital funds. Day to day I go all over Bristol, meeting with people in the community who want to put on events for us. I work at a lot of events and support people in making their events a success. It’s a really fun and engaging role, so I love it.

That sounds perfect for a friendly character like yourself! Now I think I know what you might say to this one but what is the most exciting thing you are working on at the moment?

Obviously Stomp!

Whole in one [laughs] So for our readers, what is Stomp and why are you so excited about it? 

Well, it’s our annual 6-mile sponsored walk from Bristol City Centre to our National Centre. The route winds past lots of iconic Bristol sites, along the tow path and out to Pill and it’s a really fun and exciting day… Also it’s REALLY soon – I can hardly contain my excitement.

Yes, is it 12th October?

That’s right, yeah! I’m really looking forward to it. Plus, it finishes with an autumn market in our grounds. Lots of food trucks, local produce and craft stalls are coming along and it was a really great atmosphere last year. I can’t wait to eat so much delicious food.

Sounds brilliant! As it’s so soon, are there still places on the walk?

Absolutely! You can sign up right up until the day itself and fundraise as much as possible to help us to help more people.

Lovely, and I have heard there is guaranteed good weather, so that’s a bonus [laughs]!

[Laughs] Oh definitely.

So, what would you say is your favourite part of the job?

Definitely meeting all of Penny Brohn’s wonderful supporters. Penny Brohn is such a special charity with an amazing cause and knowing that we’re raising money to support people locally means a lot.

That’s really lovely. So finally, what is your favourite dunkable biscuit?

This is just too hard, I love all things food. I wake up thinking about food and that’s how my day continues!! But if I had to choose…..a ginger biscuit covered in thick dark chocolate….

That is incredibly specific [laughs].

[Laughs] Yeah, but I had a fancy box on the weekend and they were delicious!!!!

They do sound great. I’ll have to get some myself! 

Thanks to Sophie for joining me today and talking all things community fundraising. If you’re interested in signing up to Stomp, you can do so here. We’ll be back here with another member of the Penny Brohn team next month. So keep an eye out for the next Cedar Garden Sessions.

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