Where there’s a Will there’s a way to make a difference for the world's poorest people - Gill Blake

One of the huge number of things that have changed during the past months has been an interest in the restorative powers of nature.
Gill Blake, Legacy Officer, Christian Aid ScotlandGill Blake, Legacy Officer, Christian Aid Scotland
Gill Blake, Legacy Officer, Christian Aid Scotland

My own small garden in Edinburgh wouldn’t win any gardening prizes but despite the regular affronts they faced by my children and a football during lockdown, the sunflowers remained tall, the border weeded and pots well-watered.

When a local golf club generously opened its gates to the public for exercise I was buoyed by the comforting wrap of the natural world in this enclosed Eden. I felt awed by the enormous parkland trees - their size, strength and solidity reassuring. They have withstood other turbulent times over hundreds of years. The current pandemic is just the latest in a long list. I found enormous comfort in the perspective those trees give on our daily lives and troubles.

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This sense of perspective is also one of the reasons why I love my job, which is raising funds for Christian Aid’s work with the world’s very poorest. My role is about showing people the incredible power of legacy giving: making space for a donation in your Will. Sometimes people hear the word ‘Will’ and are immediately put off. But for many it is an incredibly empowering way to give and you don’t need to be wealthy. Leaving just 1% to a charity or cause which you feel close to will often make an impact far beyond what we could afford to donate in our lifetime. Leaving a gift in your Will is a great leveller, a way to ensure your beliefs live on. Like the trees, it gives your values strength beyond any human lifespan. Again, perspective.

This November, Will Aid will run just as it has done for over 30 years. The scheme, which started in Scotland, sees solicitors generously volunteering their time to write Wills. Instead of paying the usual fee for the Will, the client makes a voluntary donation to Will Aid. The scheme raises money for nine UK charities, including Christian Aid, who are playing a critical role in combating the impact of coronavirus in some of the world’s poorest countries, where there is no NHS or furlough safety net.

My own need for the comfort of those trees has receded. But as their leaves start to fall I know that, for many, a sense of loss from this year’s challenges remains. It is especially difficult for those unable to come together to grieve.

On 4 November at 5.30pm, Christian Aid will host an online service of reflection to remember and celebrate those we love who are no longer here. You are warmly invited to join us. Though our branches may be bare, we will weather this storm together.

To book an appointment with a local solicitor for November visit www.willaid.org.uk, or call Will Aid on 0300 0300 013. Will Aid supports Action Aid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, Age UK, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

For information and to join our service of reflection on 4 November, visit caid.org.uk/reflection

Gill Blake, Legacy Officer, Christian Aid Scotland



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