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How being a business owner can benefit the wider community


FSB Merseyside and Cheshire Area Lead Yvette Hastings (pictured below), of specialist food supplement business Novanturi, has helped raise thousands for good causes.

Here, she explains the value of charitable work, including her latest venture – the Combined Services Barbarians rugby team, which has secured former England international Rory Underwood as patron.


As business owners, we can sometimes forget that we have skills and contacts that can benefit the charity sector and volunteering is a good way of helping others. My first such project was working with a new centre in Crewe, helping the Programme Manager prepare his reports and develop plans to promote the new building as somewhere locals could come and meet each other, learn new skills and engage with other local services.

It was very rewarding to see the project completed and become integrated into the community.

Following on from this, I began helping former Royal Marine commando Stu Morton raise funds for a charity that helps veterans with PTSD and their families. I began to organise a rugby match to help him reach his fund-raising target.

Thanks to the incredible support of my co-organiser Jayne, Sandbach RFC and the Royal Marines Charity, we raised around £8,000 via the generosity of those who attended on the day as well as donations from businesses and individuals. 

However, none of this would have happened had it not been for the incredible players who had travelled from far and wide across the country to play. On the day, they did him proud, winning by an incredible margin of 98-0! For a team that had trained together for the first time an hour before kick-off, it was a true testament to their mental strength and determination to win.  

As the lads came off the pitch, I kept overhearing them talking about playing again and, a couple of weeks later, the Combined Services Barbarians became a reality. With a logo and kit designed by Team manager Topsy (whilst on honeymoon) we were able to secure four amazing sponsors as well as England British Lions legend Rory Underwood and Industrialist Yuki Hayashi as our patrons. 

News travels fast and, ever since the first game, Topsy has been bombarded with requests to join the team as well as committee members asking us to play matches at their clubs. 

Being involved with the team and helping them to get started has and continues to be an incredibly rewarding experience.

I’ve always loved rugby and it’s so reassuring working with the military as you know they are always by your side.

The lads just want to come together to play a game they love and enable the charities they support raise funds on the day; they are all so positive, so in turn this makes me want to do everything I can to help them grow and spread the message. 

Match planning aside, they have a wit and wicked sense of humour and the inter-services banter can literally have me crying with laughter.

We are in the process of working with our IT team to complete the online website and social media, but people can check the Facebook page and @CSBarbarians_RU on Twitter for up to date information on events, both past and future. FSB members are welcome to contact me to get involved with setting up stands to promote their business at our events or sponsor specific events on the day. 

On Saturday, 16 February the team will play at Prenton RFC on the Wirral to raise funds for the Army Benevolent Fund, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2019.

FSB’s National Chairman, Mike Cherry, signed the Armed Forces Covenant in recognition of the value serving personnel, including regular and reservists, and veterans and military families contribute to business and the country.