My name is Kevin Morland, I am the founder of An Hour For Others a charity based in Liverpool, UK - I'm 45 years old and born and bred in the City. After leaving school with very few qualifications I was lucky to gain an apprenticeship as a painter & decorator for the city council which I spent many years doing. I moved around various painting firms and even left the profession a few times trying different roles as an office worker, industrial roofer, support worker and in a car seat building factory. I was never really happy in any of these jobs and always felt like they wasn't my purpose for being here if that makes sense.
The 2000's were a bit of a wake up call to me and as I got older I started to really think a lot more about the world around me, especially after the birth of my son in 2004 and death of my Mum in 2007. For quite a while after my Mums death I was wondering what it was all about, I was becoming really down about the problems ordinary people in my City and the wider world were facing - so many including myself were literally always on the brink of absolute meltdown if things turned for the worst. The media was forever filled with constant bad news stories of hate, violence, war, poverty , illness, aggression, selfishness, greed and divisions.
After constantly complaining in work to friends and on social media, on 2nd November 2013 I had a 'light bulb' moment at 4am when I realised my constant complaining about the world wouldn't change a thing and if I wanted to see a change for the better then I had to start living this way and do my little bit in creating the vision of a better world I had. I thought what it was I could do to make a small difference where I live , I recognised that my skill of painting and decorating, some of my time free of charge and a few materials could really have a massive impact improving the living conditions of local children and elderly people living in poverty and with illness. Around that time I had moved back into my Dads house and decorated the spare room for my son, he was over the moon when it was finished and it made things easier and more comfortable when he stayed with me. I knew so many young and old in the City lived in really poor conditions behind closed doors as I had seen it first hand in my work. Poor living conditions play a huge part in depression, stress, ill physical and mental health and affect daily life. I could ease this for many with just a bit of my time and skill free.
It dawned on me straight away that the idea of giving a skill and time free of charge and some materials to help vulnerable people could literally involve everyone giving back in a small way that suits them which not only would tackle many problems our towns and cities face but also changes the character of our communities making them stronger much more unified, cohesive and compassionate places to live. I knew it could change mindsets and inspire many others to get involved as well as showing a different way to the children growing up looking up to us. Pretty soon after posting the facebook comment (right) I was inundated with friends and family with various skills and professions all willing to get involved!
For the next few months I organised meetings with many brilliant people in the City connected with the social side of things who were all really helpful, so many told me that the whole concept had so much potential and was something that was much needed not just in Liverpool but beyond. It was from these meetings the name An Hour For Others (AHFO) was born.
Around the time of these meetings I met my partner Gill Watkins. Gill is an absolute amazing person and once I told her about the concept totally got it and wanted to help me get things started. An accountant with a real business brain and a heart of gold Gill has been invaluable to An Hour For Others.
AHFO was set up initially as a CIC which we operated until gaining charitable status in 2018. Gill's story is an inspirational one which is the reason for her absolute dedication, passion and self sacrifice in helping build AHFO in her spare time over 5 years, whilst still working her full time job. Gill also received redundancy back in 2014 at the start of AHFO’s which instead of investing this into her future she financed me for 8 months for me to be able to leave work and get AHFO’s of the ground. Gill grew up in the town areas of Liverpool in a loving family, after leaving school with no qualifications she was involved in a horrendous car crash in Wales at just 16 which put her on a life support machine for 2 weeks and caused shocking injuries. After a long road to recovery things became harder again as she became pregnant at only 19 years old and a 5 year domestic violence relationship saw Gill enter a real dark place in life from the age of 17 to 21 with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel.
Gill's own light bulb moment came when she was 21 and the absolute love for her daughter and determination to make a better life for them made her leave the relationship and also go back to college and gain the qualifications she never whilst at school. It was here she was told she had a love of numbers which would help her work towards becoming an accountant many years later. For many years alongside working for companies in an accounts role she would also attend college 3 times a week until 9pm and even of a weekend, all of this as single mum and struggling financially. In 2006 she gained her qualifications and with her passion and determination she landed a role as an Accountant for the USA part of the international company she worked for. This was a long way from where Gill had been in her 20’s trying to rebuild her life, having to bunk on buses to get to work and college to now flying business class to the other side of the world.
Gill's passion for AHFO and her determination to help show people going through traumatic times that no matter how much life throws at them there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Gill's story proves we are all more than capable of stepping out of comfort zones and achieving great things, this made her sacrifice her own successful career and help build AHFO for all these years. All this hard work culminated in an award and recognition at The Liverpool Echo Awards night 2019 where An Hour For Others were named Charity Organisation of the year, this was a special moment.
Our brilliant AHFO team with charity organisation of the year award. Suzi Cain, Jess McGrady, Christine Penman, Lyndsay Watkins, Kelsey Shankly Conway.
Over the years we continue to evolve and now have a small team working tirelessly for a better community. The skills, time and materials people offer have made it possible for us to create services which all tackle major issues our communities face as well as helping build them. Many lives have been positively impacted and benefited from the AHFO team's work and all of those lovely people and businesses who have shared our vision and got involved in various ways. The demand is becoming greater and we are always in need of practical support and financial backing to continue to grow and even spread to other Cities. An Hour For Others became a registered charity in 2018 we are constantly growing and inspiring others to become part of a better, fairer more caring world where people give their time, skill, donations, resources to tackle many issues our towns and cities face.
Founder of An Hour For Others.