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The Serco People Fund Life changing support for colleagues in crisis

The Serco People Fund is an independent charity launched in the UK with a £4m donation from Serco.

In response to applications, the People Fund provides grants to current and retired Serco colleagues, and their close families, when they face extraordinary financial challenges.

The People Fund has already given more than £100,000 to colleagues in crisis for whom these grants have been nothing short of life changing. Here it is our privilege to introduce just a few of them, who have agreed to share their stories in the hope it will encourage others to reach out for help.

Although not all applications are eligible, all applicants are connected with other forms of support where appropriate.

Mary Ryan, Serco People Fund beneficiary

Mary Ryan has a rare, life-limiting heart condition which risks fainting, seizures, and sudden death in response to stress and adrenaline. Her parents, siblings and even her children suffer from it, and they all feared for her first grandchild, who was due in March 2022.

That fear prompted Mary to reach out to the People Fund, asking for help to buy a mobile defibrillator for her family, and the People Fund was only too happy to oblige.

“The People Fund has given us our lives back. It’s given us freedom. We can go on holiday, even just go for a walk, without worrying that we won’t come back. We can live without fear.”

Mary admits that she isn’t the kind of person to normally ask for help and did not expect anything to come from her application:

“I was blown away when they said yes. It would have taken us so long to save the money ourselves – if we’d ever been able to.”

Keen to pay the kindness forward, Mary has registered the defibrillator for local community public access. More recently came the good news that her granddaughter, born healthy and on time, appears not to have inherited the same faulty gene and will live free from this condition.

Serco is full of people who have dedicated themselves to improving lives, bringing to life our Value of Care. The Serco People Fund is proud to be able to offer them the same kindness, where a little financial support can make a big difference.

Helen Shaw
People Fund Trustee

Our priority now is to make the People Fund available to Serco colleagues worldwide. We are also working to secure the sustainability of the fund so that it can support Serco people and their families for many years to come.

Stephen Grassby
People Fund Trustee

Melanie Spencer, Serco People Fund beneficiary

Melanie Spencer is still putting her life back together after escaping a highly abusive relationship in which her ex-partner, now in prison, also stole from her and amassed huge debts in her name. Melanie was free of her partner but struggling when a colleague suggested the People Fund.

“I had no idea how much I needed help. He took everything from me. I thought it would hang round my neck forever. The People Fund has helped me see how important it is to open up to help and support – it’s part of how you heal.”

With help from the People Fund, Melanie has settled all the debt, giving her a fresh start. Melanie says her experience with the People Fund, caring and compassionate, has helped restore her faith in humanity: “They’ve been so kind and helpful – taking the time to talk to me about my situation, asking lots of supportive questions, even offering to cover the cost of the police reports.” Melanie has discovered a lot of what she needs in Serco as well: “Free counselling through the Serco Employee Assistance Programme has been another life-saver, and I use Serco’s wellbeing app, Thrive, all the time. I want to help others by sharing my story and experience and they’re helping me to do that too.”

Andrew Sych, Serco People Fund beneficiary

Andrew Sych moved to the UK from the Ukraine in 2000 and has worked for Serco since 2016. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine was a huge shock to Andrew and his wife, and their families living there. As the horrors of war enveloped their homeland, they helped his wife’s sisters and young nephews escape to the UK.

“We brought them here to live with us. All they had was emergency clothing and one bag of nappies. We shared all we could and asked neighbours for spare clothes and mattresses.”

Neighbourly charity could not help Andrew provide for all their needs. His hopes of financial support were dashed when he discovered his circumstances meant he fell between the cracks of various schemes available.

Andrew’s manager suggested the People Fund. Throughout his application, Andrew was certain it would come to nothing:

“Hard experience has taught me to assume help is not coming. I had to read the confirmation email several times before I understood what I was seeing. Now I know that there are people who will help you, for no other reason than because they want to help you. We still have family trapped in the Ukraine and we hope to see them again soon, but for now at least we can live more comfortably, thanks to the People Fund.”

Our people stories