Stories of HOPE – Phil Mumby

Stories of HOPE Phil Mumby

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In the first of our blog series celebrating 25 years of HOPE, we share Phil Mumby’s story. While working at HSBC, Phil learned about HOPE through a chance encounter. Now as Chair of Trustees for HOPE UK, he reflects on his early visits to Kolkata and what the organisation’s 25th anniversary means to him.

My Hope Foundation journey started in the air. Back in 2009, on a return flight from a working visit to Kolkata with HSBC, I fell into conversation with a pleasant lady who had an interesting story. She worked with disadvantaged street children in the city, providing rescue, healthcare, safety, education and opportunity.

That lady was Maureen Forrest, HOPE's founder and now President. I was struck by her generosity of spirit, obvious resilience and a sense of calm determination. I was also hit by the stark contrast in fortunes between those like me, working in a global financial firm like HSBC, and the young people from Kolkata’s streets, with much less opportunity.    

After returning home, I encouraged my teams here in the UK and in Kolkata to fundraise for HOPE. Many colleagues took the opportunity to visit HOPE’s programmes there, as I did on all my later visits.  

Phil pictured with friends in Kolkata
Phil with friends in Kolkata
Visiting HOPE's projects

During my first visit to HOPE’s programmes, I was hosted by the wonderful Geeta (Venkadakrishna, Director of the Hope Kolkata Foundation), who is sadly missed since her untimely passing. We met in HOPE's modest offices, and then visited a girls’ residential childcare centre, HOPE Cafe and the Life Skills Training Centre.

My principal impressions were of the evident professionalism of the operation, the quiet enthusiasm of the staff and the high engagement levels of the children in their surroundings and activities.

I've since made five further visits to Kolkata. Fond memories include Geeta introducing my wife and me to our sponsored child (I'm not sure who was the more nervous - the little girl or me!) and visiting the amazing Hope Hospital. It may be small, but it is so impressive and provides wonderful care for those in need.

Sponsoring a child

It is a real privilege to be able to help a young person find a good start in life and see them grow and fulfil their potential, through child sponsorship with HOPE. I have seen first-hand just how dedicated and capable the Hope Kolkata staff are and how much the children enjoy their support.

We sponsor two young people now, and it is great to hear of their personal ambitions and progress. Kolkata has become a very special place for me and it's really nice to think that these youngsters will in time make their own contribution to the City of Joy.

Joining the HOPE family

Our fundraising at HSBC grew and after finishing my time with the company I was asked to be a HOPE trustee. I now chair the UK board. I'm delighted to know that HOPE's many contacts with current and former HSBC colleagues continue to this day, both here and around the world.

In the UK, we have a diverse board of trustees with different backgrounds, skills and life experiences, so we are well balanced across the various disciplines of fundraising, financial management, control and governance.

My main challenges lie in ensuring that HOPE remains relevant in the UK and that our activity is well managed and sustainable, while we look to grow our supporter base and increase the funds that we raise each year for the programmes in Kolkata.

We aim to evolve with changing times, be professional in all we do and ensure HOPE UK staff and trustees continue to work hard and effectively, not just for today but for future success too.

If I have indeed helped HOPE change lives, my own life is immeasurably better from the experience and my own journey with HOPE continues.

Phil pictured standing in front of a HOPE banner with HOPE UK trustees Shiuli, Katy and Martin.
Phil with trustees Shiuli, Katy and Martin
25 years of HOPE

HOPE’s 25th anniversary is a wonderful testimony, not just to our inspirational founder, but to all the dedicated people who have worked for HOPE over the years, and our wonderful fundraisers and supporters around the world.

My aspiration for HOPE UK is that it will continue to be a warm, professional and successful organisation to work with, for donors, supporters, staff and trustees, raising valuable funds that can help change young peoples' futures in Kolkata.

Find out more about HOPE’s 25th anniversary.

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