Robbie's Give It Sum Fund Celebrates 10 Years

05

Oct
2010

Robbie headed to his home town of Stoke-On-Trent yesterday to mark the 10th anniversary of Give It Sum, the charitable fund he set up with Comic Relief.

Give It Sum, which is dedicated to tackling poverty, promoting social justice and helping local people find solutions to local problems, has funded almost 300 projects across North Staffordshire and seen more that £5 million spent on changing the lives of countless people in the area.

Read Robbie's words below, in which he describes the emotional trip which marked what he describes as "without doubt though one of the best things I’ve ever done "...

"The last ten years of my life have seen some amazing highs, but without doubt though one of the best things I’ve ever done was to set up the Give It Sum fund with Comic Relief.

Being given the opportunity to be able to help people from the town I grew up in has been a real blessing and has given me much more back than I’ve put in.

Over the years the stories I’ve heard from some of the people who’ve benefitted from Give It Sum  cash have stuck with me, no matter what else has been going on in my life and I was excited to be able to come and say hello again.

The day started at a Unity, a young people’s project based in Burslem, a part of town I know well from when I was growing up – in fact I used to spend a lot of time hanging around outside the KFC just down the road!

Unity is a simple idea, it gives youngsters who aren’t necessarily finding school all that easy a chance to flex their creative muscles, gain qualifications and hopefully get a career in something they love.

Loads of kids don't necessarily shine at school. I was insanely lucky to have auditioned for a pop band and got the gig, but now thanks to places like Unity you’re not just labelled thick, like I was, because exams might not have been your thing - you get a second chance.
 
Unity is basically the school I wish I'd gone to and it’s an unbelievable privilege that I've been able to help a place like this.
 
There was some real talent on show, kids who’ve got the chance to show that they have masses to give. Some of the designs and artwork on show blew me away and there’s no doubt there’s a bright future in store for lots of the them.


Robbie with Saul Mountford (left) and Joe Byrne at Unity

And to think these are exactly the type of kids who would have fallen through the net.

As I was saying my goodbyes I mentioned some groups and bands I thought they might have heard  of in an attempt to be down with the kids. Everything I said was met with the same response - Old School!
 
Then to top it off I found out I went to school with the mum of one of the lads there - old before I die doesn't do it justice! 
 
Old Blurton was the next stop, a place I came to in 2002 and it was a divided community, with trouble on the streets and nothing for people to focus on or call their own.
 
All that changed when a group of residents led by one of the most formidable and driven women in Stoke, Nina Hulse, decided to set up a community centre to start the process of rebuilding the fabric of the area that had been torn apart by unemployment.
 
Through Give It Sum I got to hear about what they were attempting and gave them a bit of help. They started up in a disused house and were soon so popular they were bursting at the seams. So in 2005 they got planning permission to erect a purpose built centre and Give it Sum gave them a leg up with that too.

Super Nina and the gang worked like Trojans and as we pulled into what used to be derelict ground I saw what they had achieved for the first time – from nothing they have given Old Blurton back its heart.
 
Seeing this thriving place, this hub which caters for everyone in the area, young and old alike, just shows what can be done. There's a dance class in one room, a craft workshop in another and little kids playing in a safe environment around people who love them – not to mention the best cup of tea you’ll find anywhere.



Robbie at Old Blurton Community Association with committee member and co-founder Nina Hulse, who was delighted to see him and soon had the kettle on!

Places like this bring people together, give them a chance to believe in themselves again and find new skills so they can support themselves – it’s hard to overstate the vital role it is playing and spending even just an hour or two there you can see the amazing effect it’s having.

Robbie with Masque Dance Group at Old Blurton Community Association

Blurton still has its problems of course like a lot of inner city areas in the country do, but it’s on the up thanks to Nina and her friends and I'm proud to have played a small part in that through Give It Sum.
 
The final stop of the day was the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice which provides respite and end of life care for children with life threatening diseases.

When I first came to visit this place back in 2002 it was just being built and the first person I bumped into was an old school friend of mine who was working as a chippie on the place.

It’s come a long, long way since then. It’s a lively noisy place with an amazing atmosphere which is currently supporting about 170 local children and families.

It’s hard to imagine a tougher time for a family than trying to deal with the possible loss of someone they love so much – but Donna Louise somehow manages to be a place full of joy. There’s state of the art specialist play and music therapy areas, medical and nursing support and counselling.

Talking to the parents and siblings of the sick children you can see in their eyes just how much having a place like this means to them during the dark times they are facing.

I’ve made some good and some bad calls in my life, but without doubt starting Give it Sum is something I am genuinely proud of.

Here’s to the next 10 years."

To donate to Comic Relief please click here.

Click here to find  out more about Unity.

Click here to find out more about Old Blurton.

Click here to find out more about the Donna Louise Children's Hospice.

 

  • Robert...thank you, thank you, thank you. Having seen the pictures from your trip to Stoke, I was moved to see your fantastic charity has had a positive impact on people with Downs Syndrome. I have a 5 year old with DS and you cannot comprehend how wonderful it is when people are accepting and show they care so a very personal thank you. I've posted the link on Facebook for friends with similar kids. I used to live off High Lane, by the way and the Ancient Brit was my regular too. Live in Derby now (throbbing metropolis of...!!!). Hope you enjoyed your trip to Stoke. Ann

  • congratulations to you and give it sum, you really are an amazing person and what you have done is mind blowing, its such a shame thers not more peole like you in the world eh? hers to the next 10 years and all your good work. well done rob, i am sooo proud of you! loadsalove to you, love too the mrs!

  • Robbie you are a beautiful person inside and out!!! :-) xxx

  • Congratulations Robbie for you help and to those people who make these things possible. Well done to all!!! Will go and visit next time in Spain. Luvs a woman from S.O.T. actually living in Valencia, Spain x

  • Well done love - I want to start a similar thing in Leeds - how about coming to see "Giz a chance" someday?

  • ROBBIE WILLIAMS: SIMPLY THE BEST!.. ☺♥☺♥..

  • Oh.. Robbie.. You are an Angel !!.. yes.. Our Angel !!.. :).. I just want to say that.. I am VERY proud of you!.. because you are a excellent person with a big heart of gold !!.. :).. I LOVE YOU ROB!.. AND I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!!.. :).. God bless you.. ♥♥.. Daniela from Argentina ♥♥

  • Rob, you're a fantastic professional and person, you're an angel, for everybody and if anyone had any doubts...only seeing this images, is so emotive and lovely, your face and how you looks people... you move me.
    Really we are alone when we born and when we have to go.. but the important things we do while we are alive there are that what are you, not money, not fame, not our profession define us.. our essence is in the little things we do, how we speak and look each other and what we do for the others.

    You're an example to follow and you can be very very proud!
    Thank you for all!
    Lot of kisses and hugs from Spain♥

  • "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover". (Mark Twain)

  • Better do a good deed near at home than go far away to burn incense( Chinese Proverb ).
    P.S.:A beautiful heart, beautiful soul is like a sweet man like you!. Big kisses and hugs to you!

  • It was so nice to read this.Well done for supporting people from your hometown.Its a wonderful charity so nice for you to give something back from your fame and wealth.It must have been so lovely to meet all the people you have helped through this Give it Sum Charity.You are a good soul and thats why all your fans love you and your great entertaining skills and fine music.Keep up the worth while charity work,I support Comic relief too.Brilliant to see the money being used for such worthwhile causes and to see all their smiling faces makes it all so worthwhile.

  • Really good to see that you keep supporting projects like this. And that you enjoy it so much. This blogg was nice to read, it is good to see that lovely projects like this come to life and becomes a success.
    Keep up the Robbie stuff!!! Love it

  • Rob you are a good man ! Hope to see you in Paris Sunday.. xxx ♥

  • Well done. In these pictures we can see how handsome you really are. Better than with any make up or photoshot. You're full of love and that's why we love you so much too. Thank you, Love.

  • I´m so happy and proud for you.Being th Best Male singer and the world´s most handsome man would seem a little bit empty and shallow without your big heart .You´re such a complete man and human being nowadays-Blessings and lots of love for you my dear Robert.Hugs and kisses from Argentina ♥♥♥♥♥☺☺♥♥♥♥♥

  • so good of u...:)
    u're the greatest performer-singer ever...
    but above all u're a human!!!

  • The people from Stoke must be so proud of you Rob. It would have been so easy for you to have not looked back, but its lovely how you remember where you're from (and you even still talk like them:D). It just shows the sort of person you are ;) xxx

  • Congratulations Rob, you're a great person! Love you so much xx