The Oli Leigh Trust is a suicide prevention and mental wellbeing fundraising trust, based very close to where I live and run FYG. I was fortunate enough to meet Michelle, Oli’s mum, and the Chair of the charity a few months ago. As soon as I met her and heard the tragic story of Oli, her son’s, suicide, I wanted to find a way to support her work and enable FYG to make a small difference. We now donate a % of sales of all products to the charity. Sunday 1st May is a very important day for Michelle and the charity as it will be 4 years since Oli took his own life. Michelle has organised a social media campaign to raise awareness and funds, so I spoke to her to find out more.
Hi Michelle, thank you for talking to me today. On Sunday you are running your social media campaign, #orange4oli. Can you tell me about this campaign and why it is so important?
Suicide in our youth is on the increase. There is very little support offered in the way of training in schools and universities. We need prevention training to be part of teacher training and part of school curriculum. We want all children to receive training to be able to deal with any insecurities they have before they feel it is too late. Suicide Prevention training is not talking about how not to take your life, but how to keep your life from getting to the point of you wanting to take it.
On the 1st May, it will be 4 years since Oli took his life. This is a day that we want people to remember Oli in a fun way. The good, kind, cheeky, lovely boy he was. Orange was Oli’s favourite colour. – it’s a colour that can make you smile. So, find something orange, take the picture, and post it to #orange4oli
Out of great tragedy, you have created a real legacy for Oli. What are your aims for the charity, The Oli Leigh Trust?
As chair of the Charity, I would like to be able to step down and become an employee and be a full-time fundraiser and ambassador for the charity. This will only happen if we find 1, 2 or 3 donors who would like to sponsor me for the next 3 years. We are looking for £100,000. I know I’ll be able to generate so much more money for the charity to be used 100% towards Suicide Prevention Training around the country.
What are the range of fundraising activities your charity undertakes?
In the last 3 years we have only had 5 in-person events, due to Covid restrictions:
- Gin & Whisky evening
- 7 A Side Football
- Drag Bingo Evening
- Zoom Quiz and Magic Show
- Independent supporters raising money
How can people find out about how they can support The Oli Leigh Trust?
Please visit our social media sites:
What are you most proud of in the charitable journey of the trust?
- The community and the wider audience we are targeting getting behind us and supporting us. Suicide does not discriminate. It can affect each and every one of us.
- The volunteers. Without them, there is no charity.
- Knowing that every penny we raise goes directly into free training programmes around the country for our children to receive.
What’s coming up next for the charity? Have you got any events you can share with us?
This Sunday, 1st May, is Orange4Oli. If you See it, Snap it, Share it. Instagram #Orange4Oli. Through this campaign, we are raising money via social media by promoting the colour Orange, Oli’s favourite colour.
Our Just giving page is Orange4oli2022
We also have a 7-a-side football tournament on 19th June and a trek across the alps – Italy, France Switzerland – in 2023
There will be much more to follow too!