Transforming lives through offering food, shelter, hope and support to the most vulnerable in our community

Queens Award

DPD Delivers: An interview with Julie Harris

We’re incredibly fortunate to be DPD Credit and Billing’s chosen charity for this year. Not only do the team at DPD very kindly raise money for things we urgently need, but they also volunteer almost every week at the Wild Goose drop-in centre.

Their involvement has largely been led by Julie Harris, Head of Credit Management. But that’s not her only job title – she’s also a deacon in the Church of England and is training to be a priest. She sees helping the vulnerable as being very much part of her own ministry.

What inspired you to get involved?

It all started when we put on a picnic in Castle Park for our staff team. It was for charity – our team donated some money, and in return we put on a nice spread and they got a long lunch break. During the picnic, some homeless people asked if they could have some of our food, and it really struck a chord with the staff team. They wanted to share what they had.

We initially thought about setting up a soup run in the park over Christmas. But after speaking to Jonnie (Wild Goose Manager) at CCM, and learning how much is going on already, we thought the best thing to do would be to get involved at the Wild Goose. And it worked out really well. I think the team really appreciated being able to give their time – to give something that wasn’t just money.

We were all fairly humbled by what we saw. It was quite an eye opener.

What happened next?

After we’d been over the first time, lots more of the team wanted to get involved. That led us to make you our chosen charity for this year. DPD normally supports big, multinational charities – in fact I’ve worked here for 27 years and I can’t remember a time when they haven’t supported charities.

But we wanted to make an impact locally – to put something back into the community. So we asked if we could nominate our own charity for the year, and the business has fully supported it. It matches, pound-for-pound, what we raise as individuals.

So as well as supporting us through regular volunteering, you’re raising money too?

Yes – at the moment we’re raising money for a new washing machine for the Wild Goose. To make it tangible and get the team enthusiastic about it, we’ve got a cardboard model of one in the break room, with the water level representing how much money we’ve raised so far. We’re raising £1,250 as a staff team, so once the company’s matched it, we’ll have £2,500.

You’ve done a shift in the Wild Goose, haven’t you?

I have! I chopped up a lot of red peppers – in fact, I think I’d be quite happy if I never saw one again. It wasn’t just breezy and ‘do a little bit’, it was hard graft! But it was very, very rewarding.

What were your reflections on your time there?

It was very humbling. I think to be able to help in that sort of situation is a massive vocation, and you could see that Jonnie and Andy (Deputy Manager for Provision) both have a real heart for looking after vulnerable people. We just get a glimpse of it.

Most of all, there was no judgement, which was brilliant. After all, we’re all just one or two pay packets away from being in that situation.


Could your business help support homeless people in Bristol? If you’d like to find out more about how to get involved, email Yan, our Fundraising and Communications Manager, at yan.lau@crisis-centre.org.uk.

Posted: 14:26 on 31-07-18