Stepping out on an unknown journey with no blue print to guide you is both intimidating, exciting and scary and yet compelling; this is how I felt in January 2015 setting out to raise awareness of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking in my local area.

The least likely, the least equipped, the least prepared, the least endorsed, no training for the task, were all valid arguments that told me why I shouldn’t pursue that journey.

5 years later, humbled by so many distinguished guests who have helped us financially or have opened doors of opportunity to reach this significant moment, joined Voice of Hope’s 5th Anniversary Celebration, it was truly a momentous moment.

Dame Sarah Thornton, the Anti-Slavery Commissioner joined us and gave an in-depth keynote speech into the subject on a national level.  Individuals from all walks of life attended including representatives from the local council, DWP and the GLAA.  Sue Arnold, Staffordshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Ashley Brough the Staffordshire High Sheriff came and awarded the charity, unbeknown to us, with a High Sheriff Award.  The Lord Mayor attended and said she didn’t realise how big the issue was. A special video message from The Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP was shown and really topped off the day.  Karen was one of the team who was responsible for the introduction of The Modern Slavery Act in 2015.  

As Catherine and Gary Morris, two of our department directors and lead trainers, briefly shared just a few of the areas we are currently working in, I sat there humbled and astounded, all the highs and lows rushed through my mind in a few seconds all of which seemed so insignificant as I reminisced of our humble beginning.  Working with Ann Broom and Lynn McDermott selling cakes to afford a few leaflets to currently having an outstanding staff of 4 and a passionate team of volunteers that have delivered awareness training to over 3500 frontline staff in businesses, schools and colleges, government agencies and local churches, all are now more equipped to recognise, prevent and protect the most vulnerable men, women and children in our own back yards.

So, never let what you don’t have, stop you following your calling.  Look at what you do have and start the journey.  Someone once told me, ‘God only gives you the light for the step you’re on’, I came to understand that we don’t get to know all the details right away – that’s the excitement of an unknown journey.

Onwards and upwards – Ann Grainger (Charity Director)