Dawn Evans (pictured above) is the owner of training services company Ajuda based in Cardiff Bay. In early December, Dawn gave gifts worth £1,000 to the Noah’s Ark Charity which supports sick and injured children in and around the city. This is the second year she’s been a ‘secret Santa’.
Dawn was born and brought up in Cardiff and had a successful career in the fitness industry. However it an incident with her daughter Bethan which led her to create her own business. Bethan, now 15, nearly choked to death at a playgroup and Dawn saved her life through training. Dawn realised there was a market to teach people and businesses first aid.
She was then invited onto a course for entrepreneurs and subsequently won a scholarship from the Welsh Government. This enabled her to set up her own company with funding for the first year.
Dawn was a sole trader for three years and her business became a limited company in 2009 – Ajuda. The name is from the Spanish Catalan word meaning ‘to help’.
How did the idea of a Secret Santa donation come about?
“As my company approached the milestone of five years I decided as long as the company continues to grow and flourish I would give a percentage of my profits to charity each year.
Christmas is a time for giving, so for me Secret Santa was the perfect way to give away part of my wealth.
“I have more money, love and home comforts than I could have ever imagined, my children want for nothing, so for me it was an obvious choice to give some money to those who will see the benefit.”
What did you do last Christmas?
In 2014 I choose the Amber Project. The Amber Project exists to support any young person (aged 14-25) in Cardiff and the surrounding areas who has experience of self-harm. They were so grateful, my donation made a big difference to a small, but vital, charity.
What did you do this year?
This year I choose Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity as I experienced the effect of the wonderful work the dedicated team of doctors, nurses and staff when my son Thomas (13) was admitted September this year with a dislocated elbow. He’d fallen from a swing.
“He had to have an operation and a pin inserted into his elbow. He’s due back in a few months for more surgery and I am very confident he’ll be well looked after. The staff are all amazing, working tirelessly to ensure not only my son, but all the children who pass through those doors are well cared for. The team ensure a stay in hospital is as pleasant as it possibly can be.
What was your experience on the day of the donation?
They were so grateful, I was treated like royalty when I entered the hospital. I was not only greeted by Linda Davies who is the fundraising officer for the charity, but I was also introduced to the director of the charity, Suzanne Mainwaring. The staff from the ward also came to chat to me to tell me exactly where my donation was going and how it would help the children on the wards.
Why do you think such a gesture is good for you? for your business?
This gesture, and others throughout the year, make me feel great to be in a position where I can afford to give to the less fortunate and also I feel it is good for my children to see that it’s rewarding to just give. Only last week my daughter used her pocket money to buy a pasty for a homeless man, she told me he looked cold so she thought he needed some warm food. I felt very proud of her.
What tips would you give to any other organisation about the value of supporting a charity?
There are so many worthy charities, choose one you have a connection with and it will leave you and your team with a feel good factor following your donation.