Raj Soni – Capturing the spirit of an amazing young man – to empower others
Five years ago Raj and Sue Soni’s lives were changed forever when their son Raj died following a cycling accident. The outpouring of love for him from so many people whose lives he had touched lit the flame in his family to do something positive that would capture his spirit and help other people by supporting and developing young people through sport and music – Raj’s two ‘big loves’.
Raj and Sue knew they could bring people together to raise funds so they considered setting up their own charity in Raj’s name but were daunted by the governance, administration and finance requirements with which they would have to comply.
Through their wide network they kept hearing about Quartet Community Foundation and, after meeting Ronnie Brown, they realised that Quartet could not only free them from the administrative constraints but also give advice and support.
Sue said: “Raj had a happy, secure childhood with lots of opportunities so he knew the joy and fulfilment that sport and music give young people. Because we both grew up in Bristol, we knew that too many children and young people here don’t have those same chances. Quartet have been a great support, helping us find the way to achieve our aims and we’re delighted that the Raj K Soni Legacy Fund is helping transform people’s lives.”
Funding from the Raj K Soni Legacy Fund has recently been directed towards Youth Moves, a youth work charity that believes passionately in the difference great youth work relationships between young people, aged 8-25 years old, and youth workers can make to the lives of young people as they grow up.
In May this year over £4,500 have been given towards training young people (aged 14-17 years old) to be volunteer leaders for supporting the delivery of Youth Move’s ‘Break Free Scheme’ (a holiday programme for 8-13 year olds) across sports, arts, music, and other types of activities. This training will be delivered during evenings at Youth Move’s youth club ‘The Park’ (in the Filwood area of Bristol), and will have a focus on safeguarding, engaging young people, communication, team and basic youth work skills. Training is to be delivered by Youth Move’s core staff, who will also draw in support from partners including the police and Tobacco Factory.
Sue commented: “We started off making lots of small grants and as the years have gone on we’ve developed our philanthropy so now we’re making more impactful grants. I’d advise anyone wanting to give to have a purpose for their giving and understand the impact of their philanthropy.”
After five years Raj’s spirit is still giving opportunities and inspiration to so many people.