St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation has taken its support of Panathlon to new levels this academic year with staff volunteering at our competitions up and down the country. 

The Foundation is our longest-running funder, having supported Panathlon for the last 15 years. They help us give many thousands of children with disabilities and special needs the opportunity to take part in competitive sport they are so often otherwise denied. 

Each year, St. James’s Place employees are given time off from their busy schedules in the world of wealth management to volunteer for the many charities that its Foundation supports – and Panathlon is often one of the favourite choices! 

This week (w/c 19 June), Regional Director Chris Cobley and his team from St. James’s Place volunteered at our South Lakes Primary Final at The Lakes School in Windermere. It was part of a two-day company team-building excursion which also involved climbing Skafell Pike the previous day (no mean feat in the searing heat!). 

Marcus Fellows, Executive Manager at St. James’s Place (pictured below), said being part of the Panathlon event and seeing the impact on children “makes me very proud”. 

He said: “Giving back and helping people has always been a big part of our culture and what our business is about. They give us time to do this which we really appreciate. It’s very rewarding from a personal perspective and from a business perspective too.” 

Marcus officiated and guided the pupils on the flight path game, constantly cheering them on and offering high-fives aplenty! 

“It was fantastic – you feed off the kids’ energy and enthusiasm,” he smiled. “They put everything they’ve got into this today. Doing things like this really makes everything worthwhile. When you see the kids get so much out of it, it really is superb.” 

Chris officiated the skittles. “It was so nice for us to work as a team,” he said. “Personally I’ve never worked with children before and I really, really enjoyed it. It is lovely to give back to the community. 

“To see where the money is going and see the positive effect it’s having with your own eyes is so impactful and rewarding. It was unbelievably well put together and all the children got an immense amount from it.” 

The following day, three more St. James’s Place staff volunteered in Leeds at our Panathlon West Yorkshire Primary Final, alongside trained Young Leaders from Morley Academy. 

One of the volunteers, Senior Supervisor Joanna Daniels (pictured right), had been a leader at several previous Panathlon competitions. She said: “It’s wonderful to see the competitors benefit so much, but what we hadn’t appreciated was what the Young Leaders get from the experience.  

“The role involves so many skills – clear communication, working as a team and building confidence in a leadership role. In our job, we have to teach that all the time, so to see these children getting a head-start is amazing.” 

Earlier this month, 43 St. James’s Place staff volunteered over two days at our Gloucestershire Primary Finals. 

Since Easter, St. James’s Place staff have volunteered all over the country – Gloucester, Birmingham, Bolton, York, Oldham, Stroud, London and more! 

Panathlon would like to offer our sincere thanks to all St. James’s Place staff who have given up their time to support our competitions as volunteer leaders.