I recently spoke with Katie, our HR Manager, about the Purecontent fire walk that was done in aid of the Break Charity. In total, the team managed to raise £1426 in aid of the charity.
Kitty: Hi Katie, and welcome! Thanks so much for talking with me today. Could you start by telling me how long you’ve worked at Purecontent?
Katie: Hi! Of course, and thanks for interviewing me. I joined Purecontent working as HR/Office Manager in September 2021. I’ve come to the company with thirteen years in recruitment, so my background and current position overlap quite a lot. Before that, I was doing Sales and Administration.
Kitty: Which charity did the fire walk support, and how did Purecontent become involved?
Katie: Our CEO’s father, David Hobart Senior, suggested a charity called Break. It is a charity that supports vulnerable children through the celebrations and anxieties of life. Break is based in Norfolk and Suffolk, and the children that they focus on don’t have families, may not be involved with their families, or just generally don’t have their own support network.
I’m not sure if it’s my age or a generational thing, but firewalking has always been on my bucket list. When I saw the walk was Break’s next calendar event registered on their website, I was so excited. The rest of the team was very enthusiastic as well – though more in support of the charity rather than the flaming fire walk itself!
Kitty: I can totally understand that! What are the benefits of the charity?
Katie: Break gives children a chance to process certain emotions, to recognise achievements. I think as we grow older, we forget the numerous milestones that children experience – birthdays, GCSEs, the beginnings and ends of romance, and friend disputes.
Break wanted those of us partaking in the fire walk to feel the same anxieties that children constantly feel, even for two minutes. It was very poignant.
Kitty: That’s important work. And the walk sounds like it forced you to step into another person’s shoes?
Katie: Exactly. When I experience a heightened sense of emotion, whatever that emotion is, I instantly call my parents or siblings. If a child doesn’t have an available support network to share their emotions with, does it mean that their celebrations and achievements are worth less? No. All children are worthy of recognition!
We absorb so much when we’re young, and children can only understand their emotions through experiences with people around them – how they themselves act, and how other people react. These are social skills and life skills that ‘Break’ provides children with. It’s important developmental work.
Kitty: The London Marathon, as we’ve all recently witnessed, is a huge opportunity to raise money for charity. Athletes must train themselves into a good headspace. You mentioned putting yourself in someone else’s position, so how did you prepare for the walk?
Katie: Before we started the walk, Break gave an hour-long motivational seminar to all participants. This included methods of positive thinking and instructions on how to physically walk over the embers, for safety purposes – it was quite a build-up.
Then we walked outside, and the coals were there, shining.
The embers were ten times the temperature that skin burns at, so the fear was both mental and physical; it was the fear of immediate and future pain. We had to have confidence in our own abilities to follow instructions, and belief in our co-workers, too.
Kitty: Did you focus on any thoughts or memories when walking over the embers?
Katie: No memories, as such, but with around sixty people doing the fire walk, Break were very insistent that we focused on encouraging everyone.
Before the fire walk, we had to shout our name, and shout even louder, “Ready!”. The first person got the biggest cheer, but everyone stayed until the last walker. With the photographer and the sense of community, the experience was very special.
Kitty: Break can make children feel hopeful, confident, and part of a community. How did the motivational seminar help you to empathise with the children that Break supports?
Katie: The motivational seminar informed us how Break enhances the lives of children for the better. Nobody wants to walk on hot embers; your mind tells you, that’s going to hurt. But when you have a clear vision of the people it benefits, it really gives you that push!
Kitty: Have you organised any other charity events at Purecontent?
Katie: We’ve taken part in the North Norfolk coastal walk. We’ve raised funds for Dementia UK: Time for a Cuppa. Owen, our financial director, has run a marathon in aid of the Chow Chow dog charity. As a company, we look to consistently take part in charity events. It’s an ethical thing to do.
Kitty: Any charity events lined up?
Katie: Our next fundraising event is ‘Only the Brave’ – a muddy obstacle course – for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. It’s a solely charity-funded organisation, with no government aid and, like Break, it’s a local charity that’s an essential supportive limb for our community.
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