Interview with Carla Cornwell, Head of Fundraising, The Katie Piper Foundation

March 23, 2018

Can you tell us about The Katie Piper Foundation?
In the UK, fires, acid attacks, explosions still happen all too often. Survivors of these receive outstanding emergency and acute care from the NHS. After discharge however, the scarring – physical and mental can leave people with severe limited movement, changed appearance and left feeling in despair, isolated and destroyed self-worth. Intensive rehabilitation can change this. Following Katie’s violent acid attack in 2008, whilst only months out of a coma, she created a vision of a world where scars wouldn’t limit a person’s function, social inclusion or sense of well-being. As a patient who had a rare chance to get life-enhancing results abroad through rehabilitation she wanted to make sure that everyone who had burns in the UK, could benefit from such a service, all under one roof, on home turf. After many years of working with adults with scars, giving parts of that service such as hair restoration surgeries and replacement systems and peer-to-peer support, we are now on the cusp of opening the UK’s first residential rehabilitation service for adults with the most severe of consequences from burns.

What is your role in the charity?
It’s my job as Head of Fundraising to make sure that the realisation of the vision is fuelled by the resources it needs. I research and analyse
what types of fundraising will be the most effective, turn that into strategy, turn that into action and turn those actions into impact for burn survivors.

What does a typical day at The Katie Piper Foundation look like for you?
Each day is crammed full of brilliant people who want to help burn survivors. I start the day by speaking to donors, this makes sure that people who give to the charity are at the heart of your day. I’ll havea WhatsApp chat with Katie as she is a huge source of ideas and practical input on fundraising. Then I get up to speed with what’s happening with our beneficiaries and services. That information means I have ‘real-time’ and meaningful outcomes to tell our supporters and potential supporters. The cool thing about working in a small charity is that you get to see or handle every penny raised! I’ll often march off to the bank with any cheques or cash to pay in and it is so satisfying to see that exact money being spent on people with burns and scars straight away. I’ll finish the day with thanking our donors tailoring to them personally.

How have Frazer Jones supported KPF over the last year?
Frazer Jones has been a huge support to The Katie Piper Foundation. We’ve been able to utilise their offer of free space in many different ways. In February we delivered a pop-up vocational day to 28 adult burn survivors at the Frazer Jones HQ. This day was proposed and designed hand in hand with a survivor of burns who identified a need for this as part of the journey of recovery towards thriving, rather than just getting by. As it was a new activity, we didn’t have funds for a venue set aside, so Frazer Jones enabled us to act quickly to empower the survivor of burns to produce this innovative workshop. The meeting space has also enabled us to hold strategy days and Trustee meetings in the perfect environment for focused thinking. It’s made us much more proactive about having these constructive sessions which lead to great outcomes for beneficiaries. Frazer Jones
have opened up their networks for us, giving us the chance to ask for pro-bono expertise from people such as HR Directors.

Why do you feel the partnership works well?
It’s been a really successful partnership because of the great relationship building with one key point of contact – Jo Major. Jo makes sure that we feel comfortable exploring challenges together. She has helped us recognise our strengths and is very open in sharing what networks and tools they have. This company is truly passionate about understanding the needs of each charity they work with, and wants to make a genuine difference, not just tipping their hat to the idea. Ultimately, they’ve not only saved us money that we have channelled straight into our new rehabilitation centre, but have made us feel very respected by and integrated into the Corporate sphere. We have a trusted friend to turn to in the City for advice and support in Frazer Jones.

What would enable the charity to do more?
More funding would enable us to help people who have suffered the absolute worst of burns, sooner. We are punching above our weight in how far we’ve come towards having this service, thanks to committed clinicians, volunteers and some funders. We need more funds to pay for clinical hours to set up a safe and effective service, as they will unlock a much better future for people with burns and scars.

If you are interested in supporting The Katie Piper Foundation please check out their website for more details