In Inspiring Buckinghamshire

The Heart of Bucks ‘Inspiring Buckinghamshire’ series gives local people from a range of sectors a chance to share their knowledge and insights to help inspire others.

Here we are speaking with Charlotte Minoprio, Fundraising Manager at Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research

Tell us about yourself and your connection to Buckinghamshire

I started a career in fundraising in 1998, working for a couple of large national charities in London. I moved to Buckinghamshire in 2006 with my family and have had the pleasure of working for 2 local charities since then (Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity and Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research).

What personal achievements are you most proud of?

My proudest achievement has been implementing a new initiative for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research in 2016 called Wheels at Work, which we launched with Aylesbury Business Club. Very simply we invite people to spend their usual working day in a wheelchair to gain a small insight into the lives of people living with spinal cord injury. It has proved incredibly popular with both businesses and schools alike and as a fundraiser, it is an event where everyone wins. Participants get a huge amount from the experience and for companies whose clients are wheelchair users, they really value the renewed empathy it gives them with their customers. We are so grateful to Gerald Simonds Healthcare for providing the wheelchairs for our campaign.

What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?

Funding niche research, as we do, can be challenging. Most people assume that spinal cord injury research will all be about ‘the cure’. However, for people living with spinal cord injury, we know that it is the secondary complications of their condition, such as pain, pressure ulcers, or urinary tract infections that are the main reasons they can’t reach their full potential – not the wheelchair itself. Fortunately, we work with some fantastic ambassadors who can spread the word about the importance of ‘quality of life’ research and we know how important it is for us to continue finding preventions and treatments for these debilitating conditions…so we will carry on despite the challenges!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

My Grandmother always used to say ‘When a door opens, you should always go through it’. She’s right, whether your experiences going through the door is positive or negative, at least you will learn from them and not hold onto regrets for not trying something!

What is your greatest hope for the future for Buckinghamshire?

That local businesses continue to embrace the charities on their doorsteps in mutually rewarding partnerships.