Preston’s Andy Neale had a significant Lotto win in 2015. Since then, he’s dedicated his time to volunteering; including helping to launch the Podio concept under Lancashire-based Social Enterprise, Global Amigos.
The scope of work covered by the overall project include Dirrty Harry’s (underground events which cater to Lancashire’s LGBT community), After Hate (signposting website), and of course, this city-centre resource that focuses on only the good in his hometown (Podio Magazine). As of this week, the group are also responsible for planning the Lancashire Festival After Party this, and every, July.
Despite his pay out, he’s keen to ensure a fair playing field with respect to the Global Amigos brand. “The aim is to make the enterprise pay for itself,” he tells me, “To, ultimately, promote the concept that business should be used as a tool for good; and that volunteerism should categorically be, or absolutely is, rewarding for all that do it”. He continues, “Whether it’s through ticket sales for Dirrty Harry’s, advertising revenues across our sites or franchising Podio to social entrepreneurs in other towns, I have no doubt that income generated through [the Global Amigos brands] will continue to benefit those working with us”.
When asked what he initially spent the pay-out on, Andy told me that he treated his partner to a five star spa break in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote;
Immediately after this trip, he eloped to Latin America from September 2015 until April 2016 to act as Project Leader for International Citizen Service with Progressio.
During the volunteer placement, he was granted permission to travel and so spent Christmas on the remote Caribbean island, Las Islas Del Maize.
He then spent NYE in Costa Rica before returning to his volunteer post. His partner also flew out to join him for the New Year celebrations and they enjoyed a family holiday in the Canaries on his return to the UK.
He says that’s as extravagant as he’s been; he’s since settled back in to Lancashire life where he continues to volunteer full time at the enterprise he’s built with his partner & the core team of project co-ordinators & contributors. “I’ll need to return to work at some point, or draw a wage from a business I may yet launch but, in the meantime, I’m loving what I’m doing & wish I could spend the rest of my life in volunteer mode”
It’s this magazine (Podio) which has, this week, been shortlisted for the SelNet award for Social Enterprise of the Year. The name, Podio, means podium; the purpose being to offer a platform for community members, charity groups & creatives. No voting is required for the award but for information on the ceremony & to order tickets, visit their website here.
In addition to Global Amigos he voluntarily sits on the committee for Preston Pride; an annual LGBT celebratory event which saw its Chair step down last year; replaced by local activist, Debs Bradshaw. Around the same time, the Council confirmed that there would be zero funding for 2017’s event and so Andy & the Board are hoping to develop strong & mutually beneficial long term business partnerships locally. Last month, Dirrty Harry’s announced a profit share from ticket sales starting from their Paddy’s Day event. Order tickets here – for the ‘Easter Blow Out’ at Roper Hall (Saturday April 15th)
Clearly not one to stay settled, he’s heading to India next to volunteer at an orphanage with grassroots, UK-based charity, Chennai Challenge. Donations to the charity are welcomed via Just Giving. Alternatively, readers can text the word ‘LYFE89’ followed by the desired donation amount (£2, £5 or £10) to 70070.
To read more about some of Andy’s volunteer experiences (and personal opinions on everything from Brexit to Brighton Pride) check out his personal blog.
To get involved in any of the projects or to ‘pimp out his services’ as a writer / content creator / editor / marketer / general handyman… (in exchange for more significant donations), email him directly to explore ideas.
UPDATE // In case you hadn’t noticed that this was published on April Fools >>> Unfortunately, there are no lottery winning millionaires helping us here at Podio / Global Amigos. Although all details published above are technically true, we are only made up of (non-filthy rich), part time volunteers.
Be careful what you believe from day to day folks; Click bait & attention grabbing headlines can often be completely different to actual situations… fake news, media bias & political propaganda are all serious issues.