It’s been almost two years since I began volunteering for Changing Faces, UK’s leading charity for people with conditions or injuries that affect their appearance.
And I love it. Some days I might be asked to do a bit of research, interview people or write an article; other days my tasks may be purely administrative, such as entering seemingly endless data into a computer programme, but I still enjoy it all.
Why? Because for me, setting foot in Changing Faces’ buzzing open plan office in central London on a Wednesday morning is a bit like coming home.
A key ambition of Changing Faces is the normalising of difference, and the charity’s staff work tirelessly to increase awareness of and support for face equality, promoting a society where it’s normal to be different.
Not only does Changing Faces advocate these principles to the outside world; the organisation itself is, I feel, a living reality of normalising difference. People, be they staff, volunteers, visitors, supporters or service users, are genuinely appreciated for who they are, not what they look like.
That’s why, from the first time I visited Changing Faces, I’ve felt wholly at ease there, free to be who I am.
The fabulous work that Changing Faces does to support children and adults with disfigurement is particularly close to my heart, as I was born with a cleft lip and palate and know what it’s like to be bullied for looking different.
For any non-profit organisation, fundraising is an ongoing necessity, and as government funding becomes increasingly scarce, life-changing and sometimes life-saving services offered by charities such as Changing Faces, risk being cut in the name of ‘austerity’.
As a volunteer and face equaIity advocate, therefore, I want to do whatever I can to raise awareness about the important work carried out by Changing Faces; so when an opportunity presented itself for me to help raise awareness AND money, I didn’t think twice but went for it.
I probably should have given it some thought though before rushing to commit. For what I’ve signed up for is Changing Faces’ ‘Face your fears’: stand-up comedy training!
Some say I’m mad, others think I’m brave and many ask me,
‘but are you funny?’
Not a huge vote of confidence perhaps but nonetheless, this is what I’ll be doing:
11-13 December I’ll join a team of brave souls for an intensive three-day training workshop in stand-up comedy, led by the seasoned comedian Logan Murray.
The weekend workshop culminates in a show hosted by Logan Murray himself, where 12 of us will face our fears on stage, delivering our own material in front of a real, albeit friendly, audience.
Am I mad, or brave, or even funny? That’s for others to judge. All I know is I’m petrified…and excited.
So, please support me on my road to public humiliation, all in aid of the fabulously important work Changing Faces does.
100% of all sponsorship and ticket sales will go to Changing Faces to support and represent people with disfigurements across the UK.
To donate, please click here: Jenny’s ‘Face Your Fears’ Fundraiser Stand-Up Comedy Page
Thank you for your support!