The Bank of England has had a Charity of the Year scheme running for many years. Every year I thought 'if only I could nominate the BSA to be one of them' which in turn would raise awareness about stammering. When I looked into it, it appeared that you can only win if you do a lot of canvassing, in other words 'I had to become a politician'. I felt that for me as a person who stammers this was the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest without an oxygen mask!
I also felt that this election was impossible for me as a person who stammers because I knew no other stammerers in the Bank. I didn’t think people unfamiliar with stammering would necessarily vote for BSA.
In 2010 I joined a public speaking group. A year later the President of the club, Harry Dhillon, came up with the idea of setting up a group just for PWS and asked me to help him. From the outset I was the senior mentor in the club and lots of members suddenly saw me as a role model. This leadership role greatly increased my confidence.
In 2012 I decided I should take the plunge and try and fight a two-round election by nominating the BSA. Due to the financial crisis I now knew the BSA needed the money which propelled me to fight this election with every ounce of energy I could find. During my lunch break and after I finished work I spoke to lots of people and to my surprise they were very supportive.
I recalled from my school days all the bullying any negativity people had towards my speech impediment, but 30 years later here at the Bank of England everybody was so positive and supportive. I spoke to over 100 people of whom over 95 per cent voted for the BSA.
The election result came and it was announced that the BSA and Crohn's and Colitis UK were the Bank's Charities of the Year. I had done it and achieved what I thought was impossible. I lobbied to get the maximum number of votes from my colleagues for the Charity of Year election. At the age of 44, I felt I was finally starting to reach my full potential and finally discovered my true self.
To anybody thinking about this type of challenge I can only recommend that you go for it. You will notice that you will grow as a person and you will then see improvements in every aspect of your life. Plus, you may also be successful in raising awareness of stammering and funding for the BSA!
All of Usman's hard work resulted in the BSA receiving a £35,458 donation from the Bank of England, as one of their Staff Charities of the Year for 2013.
A big thank you again to both Usman and the staff of the Bank of England for your support!
Did Usman's Story Inspire You?
If you're interested in fundraising for the BSA, why not get in touch with our fundraiser to discuss ideas and how you can help? Ideas may include how you can check if your employer has a Charity of the Year nomination process or any other type of giving. Email Lee on email@example.com, or phone the BSA office on 0208 983 1003.