Not all heroes wear capes, as shown by Sophie Livingstone, CEO of Little Village. Always looking after others, through her career and at home, Sophie is an inspiration and an all round lovely human.
Amelia first heard about Little Village on the radio a few years ago, while they were discussing their need for children's winter coats, and ever since, she has been volunteering for the charity. Auree has got to know Little Village well over the last few years, not only through volunteering but through our work on the Rowfant Collection, from which all profits go to the charity. Sophie, joined Little Village as CEO in February following her time at Trustees Limited and City Year UK. She was recently awarded an MBE for her services to charity in the Queen's 2020 Birthday Honours. (Wowee). We were so pleased to get to know her when we got the chance to interview her as part of our Auree Admires series.
From founding City Year UK to joining Little Village, tell us a bit about yourself...
It sounds cheesy, but I’ve always wanted to change the world and I feel like I can play my part in that through working in charities. I’m a do-er, I like to get stuck in and find practical solutions to problems. I previously worked with young people, but now that I have children myself, I feel very connected to the challenges faced by families who are part of Little Village. I live in South East London, my husband also works for a charity, and we have a very soppy dog who is like a third child!
What are you hoping to achieve through your work with Little Village?
Ultimately, helping Little Village support and bring together more families. Really my role is as a facilitator to enable the staff and volunteers to do what they do best, just more of it, across more of London.
Little Village is very close to our heart for the love and compassion that goes into everything you do, but what makes it so special for you?
That’s what makes it special to me too, it’s the love at the heart of Little Village that marks it out, along with the lengths everyone goes to, to make sure that families have what they need – emotionally as well as practically.
What would a typical day be for you?
I’m not sure there is a typical day! It could be meetings with the team, meeting a funder, writing Board papers, thinking about our fundraising strategy. What I wish there was more time for, is being in our hubs, getting stuck in alongside volunteers. My new year’s resolution is to make sure I put time aside to do that.
What are you most proud of?
My children. They fill me with joy every day (as well as make me very tired). It is another reason why work is so critical to me – I know how hard it is looking after young children, and to do that amidst the circumstances a lot of people find themselves in, needs recognition and support.
What would you say to people who are eager to make a positive impact but don’t know where to begin?
Think about what causes you care about, or what in your life you care about. Then research what organisations work in that space, and see what they need. Lots will need volunteers, and nearly all will need people to raise money for them. Get stuck in and build a relationship with them!
Which Auree pieces are on your Christmas wish list?
I have to say the Rowfant collection – I really love the necklace.
Any favourite brands you've recently discovered?
As we’re approaching Christmas, I’ve been reminded of the Spark Company’s ‘sleigh the patriarchy’ ugly Christmas jumper – I didn’t get round to buying one last year, but it feels even more important to sport one this year.
I know the best spot in London for....
Hanging out by the river – further east from the bustle of Greenwich, there’s a ‘beach’ where at low tide people sit and picnic, throw stones, mudlark and enjoy the view. There’s also now a lovely new pub, The Enderby, that’s recently opened nearby.
Who do you admire most and why?
Single parents – they are absolute heroes!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Everything feels like a failure in the middle…keep going.
What would you say to your 16-year old self?
It will be ok.