Stuart’s Giving Spirit: A Volunteer’s Story with Two Local Charities

Volunteer Story by Kim Perlow | April 2024

I met up with Stuart recently for a coffee and a chat about his volunteer work not far from the co-working space he is based at in Battersea. The first thing I quickly understood is that Stuart loves working for himself after years of working within agencies. As a graphic designer he has worked with 100s of organisations, many big-name clients, and was within teams of multiple people. Working for himself leading Serjent Design Limited, part of what he truly enjoys is getting to meet the clients directly, learning what they want and getting a feel for who they are, all of which helps to inform the brief he is working on for them. All communication now flows through him, so he is part of every aspect of the project management from the design to delivering the final product.

 

The flexibility of working as a freelancer has allowed Stuart to share his time beyond his paying clients to ‘give back’ by supporting charities through short-term, structured branding projects. Many of the small, community-based charities that Link UP London works with struggle to obtain funding for the resources they need to make the positive change they are looking to bring about. Having strong branding that gets them recognised is something that many cannot afford and do not fully understand how to achieve.

Link UP was excited to connect Stuart on skilled volunteering projects with two impressive London charities who have benefited significantly from his expertise. His first Link UP project was with the Cherry Groce Foundation, an organisation based in Lambeth that works on issues of equality and restorative justice. The organisation was looking to update their logo to better reflect who they are today. Stuart worked closely with them asking questions about their identity and what aspects of who they are people would recognise and included the answers within their new visuals. Through this process he was able create a logo that they love and also advise on how to build their brand through brochure designs, t-shirts, flyers, banners and more.

 

“What I really enjoy about working with charities is feeling like I’m giving something back. The projects tend to be small and not challenging to manage and I can provide guidance and suggestions that can really help them get noticed for the work they are doing and the difference they are making in their communities.”

 

Stuart’s second project was creating a new logo for the Bishop Creighton House, a vibrant community centre in Hammersmith and Fulham. As they looked to change their name to the Creighton House, they were in need of a revitalised identity. Stuart’s designs were wholeheartedly approved by the board of trustees, and they were so eager to keep him on, they offered to pay him to continue to provide support (he declined the payment but provided the support!).

 

Creighton House commented, “The involvement of Link UP and Stuart has been very helpful and enabled us to bring our brand/name change plans to fruition. It would have been difficult, and expensive, to do this without Stuart’s input.”

 

Having worked with big companies in the past that haven’t allowed for much freedom, Stuart really enjoys the artistic licence offered by these projects, “They’re not restrictive! From a graphic design point of view, smaller, more niche clients allow for more creativity and flexibility in terms of what you offer. And they are more relaxed and more enjoyable overall!”.

 

Stuart is passionate about design and takes great pride in the work he has done for these organisations; he now regularly follows what they are doing in their communities and has stayed in touch with senior members of the teams of both charities. He was delighted when Cherry Groce won a charity award recently and loves seeing them using their new branding to its fullest.

 

When asked about his recommendation to other freelancers, he didn’t hesitate. “Get involved! It’s a charity and you’re giving something back and it makes you feel good. At the end of the day, it’s your time and your expertise and you are really able to make a difference to these organisations. If you have time to give, why not do it?”. And beyond the freedom and artistic licence, being involved with Link UP has provided more ways to showcase his work and opportunities to meet new clients, such as the Battersea Power Station, through networking events. So a win-win all around.

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