Behind the scenes of the impactful roles we place, the teams we build, our dedication to tackling climate change and sustainability challenges, is our ever growing and passionate team. In our ongoing ‘Faces of Acre’ series, we want to shine a spotlight on the people who make up the Acre team and give our employees a platform to share their passions, speak up on important topics and talk about the pro bono work they take part in.
The Acre Foundation is our charitable arm, supporting a range of good causes and is something our employees embrace as a team outside of work hours - making a difference is in the DNA of our Acre employees. In our second Faces of Acre installment, we sat down with Acre Frameworks Development Coach Ed Wyeth to discuss the Welsh 3000s Challenge he is embarking on. Ed will be climbing the 15 mountains in Wales with a height of more than 3,000 feet, to raise money and generate awareness for the charity Chapter2. Ed discusses why the charity means so much to him and his story highlights the difference we can all make to the lives of others and how important it is to have the right people surrounding us to provide knowledge, motivation, advice and encouragement when needed the most.
How is training going? What are you doing to prepare whilst also working full time?
Training is tough. What makes it all the more difficult is that a challenge like the Welsh 3000s is so intangible. I’ve never walked or run 30 miles or climbed 14 peaks… let alone tackled it all at once! What helps is that I live out in the Surrey Hills, so most weekends (or even the odd lunch hour) I’ll try and tackle a hike or a spin on the bike. I’m incredibly optimistic though (perhaps unrealistic) so I’m hoping to find my legs on the day!
Tell us more about the charity Chapter2 you are raising money for?
Chapter2 is a charity that connects strong male role models with disadvantaged young people who desperately need them. They train and equip mentors who draw alongside young people to demonstrate that they matter through their constant and unconditional presence. It's honestly very simple - an hour of your week has the potential to transform the outcomes for a young person.
Why does raising money for Chapter2 mean so much to you?
Before I joined Acre, I worked as a youth worker in south-east London. I was drawn to the young people that everyone else had written off, particularly those who walked the tightrope between school exclusion and prison. I think back to one young man who I met week in and week out for over a year… let’s call him ‘Jay’. Over time Jay and I built trust as we talked about the challenges he faced while the services around him and his family failed one-by-one. Jay was incredibly vulnerable and one day fell victim to serious youth violence. I think back to the call now and it broke my heart. I remember sitting next to Jay in ICU thinking what more I could have done. Fast forward a few years and Jay made nothing short of a miraculous recovery and it was one of my proudest moments to cheer him on as he graduated. My work with Jay and others like him taught me that lives can be transformed if we merely show up as we are. The world doesn’t need more superheroes.
Do you see yourself as a great male role model?
This new way of working has been life-changing for me and my family. It has enabled me to see so much more of my son in the week and I get to do the nursery run each day. It’s terrifying when I think how much he learns from me and imitates what I do. It certainly makes me more aware of who I am and how I show up.
When I think about what makes a great role model, it’s consistency. Showing up day in and day out and demonstrating genuine care for people and their development. It’s a listening ear, a well-placed encouragement or a simple challenge. With those skills in my toolkit, it’s no wonder I was drawn to coaching.
It’s honestly such a joy coaching on the Acre Frameworks team. We are constantly learning, developing and applying concepts that again have the potential to transform the attitude and outcomes for individuals with an impact that goes far beyond the workplace.
Do you have a male role model in your life that you look up to?
Absolutely, many! I once had the pleasure of sitting down with a successful entrepreneur who had recently been recognised with an OBE for his impact working with offenders. After almost apologising for taking his time, I asked him a simple question: “What is one essential part of your success?”. He ensured to wax lyrical about the importance of having mentors who invest in each area of your personal and professional life – he says he has 6-8 at any one time! I remember his advice to this day.
I had the privilege of growing up with both parents at home, and yet navigating adolescence was tricky. Looking back, I was lucky enough to have a small group of ‘mentors’ who stuck with me through thick and thin, championing and challenging me along the way. I credit their unconditional presence alongside the work of my parents for who I am today.
My friend Mike is one of these mentors. He must have ten years on me, with which comes great wisdom and experience. He was there to console me when I dropped out of college and there to cheer me on when I got married.
How has Acre/The Acre Foundation helped support you with your fundraising?
I love that Acre genuinely encourage us to get involved in these kinds of events. The Acre Foundation generously kicked off the fundraising journey with £100 to the total. I’ve surpassed the initial £1000 target and with the support of my generous colleagues, I am confident we can break through the £1500 mark next!
To learn more about becoming a mentor and volunteering options, please go to: https://www.xlp.org.uk/mentoring.html and if you would like to sponsor Ed's challenge, please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Edward-Wyeth