My name is Victoria Hocquard, I am the Fundraising Manager (Grants and Trusts), here at The Brightwell, specialising in grants and trusts. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to work with such a positive, enthusiastic and hardworking team.
I discovered the Brightwell completely by accident when I was introduced to Doro through another charity. I immediately felt at home at the Centre and was inspired and impressed by what was offered. I applied for the position and was over the moon to join the Brightwell in 2018, initially for two days a week focusing on writing off to Grant Making Trusts and Foundations asking for donations towards projects or our running costs.
I do not come from a fundraising background, although in many of my previous formal or voluntary roles I have raised significant amounts. I have had a varied career history, including bank clerk, a buyer for a chain of giftware stores, where I absolutely loved attending gift fairs and picking out product ranges for the stores. I have also been a teaching assistant in a residential special school, specialising in children with many different barriers to learning and diagnoses. As an avid reader and book lover, I was frustrated that so many of the children came to the school not being able to read, and through no fault of their own did not have access to books, or storytelling. With class sizes and such differing levels of literacy the teachers found it hard to find the time to read individually with the pupils. So, I set up a library from scratch. I also then ended up as the librarian! I have also been a young person's counsellor and a mentor and coach, and have enjoyed writing newsletters, press copy and marketing materials for businesses and organisations.
My husband's job meant that we were lucky enough to spend some time living in America. This was a fantastic experience and a real revelation, especially when it came to healthcare costs. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2004, and it was a real shock to see how quickly you could accumulate sizable medical bills. My experience has been that Doctors and Consultants on both sides of the pond are dismissive and unempathetic about Fibromyalgia symptoms. This was one of the reasons I was drawn to The Brightwell. Everyone was so caring and kind. Most people have never heard of Fibromyalgia, and so to find a place that was knowledgeable and compassionate and where there were other people like me honestly felt like coming home.
I have always had a passion for writing and have been a member of whichever writing group is local to me. The Californian writer's group was quite the experience! The Brightwell allows me to pursue my love of the written word, whilst being a part of the most amazing community of people. I am proud of the money that my team and I have raised and am determined to keep pushing to enable The Brightwell to continue strongly well into the future.
I now live in Devizes Wiltshire, with my Husband and our two cocker spaniels. My son recently graduated with a law degree and so is temporarily back at home with the annoying old folks, whilst he earns some money for his next steps.
Please come and say hello if you see me at The Brightwell, I am usually in the office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.