Entrepreneur Stephen Moore blogs about supporting the work of The Spark, relationship breakdowns and working with lawyers.
The trauma of relationship breakdowns
Relationship breakdowns are traumatic for all involved and all of us know someone who has suffered as a result. Counselling and guidance can come from friends and family but, as in most spheres of life, when matters are complicated one should really speak to an expert and this is where The Spark comes in.
Over the past few years I have built a career around online marketing for law firms. As a society we generally try and deal with lawyers as infrequently as possible as their services, for individuals, are normally associated with stress on both personal and financial levels. In my business life the companies I am involved in generate family law enquiries for law firms concerning relationship breakdowns.
We profit from these generally, as do the law firms we work with. Divorce and separation is an aspect of society necessarily arising from human nature and society’s focus on marriage as both a personal and financial union. When the union breaks down finances and commitments have to be untangled and the lawyer’s role is to ensure that their client’s interests are effectively represented. In some cases this can be done amicably and without difficulty, in others the situation can quickly become acrimonious and the effect on the children of the dissolving union is often significant.
Who helps those with relationship problems?
I am fortunate enough to come from a harmonious family background. Of course, my parents would have had ups and downs in their relationship but in general I was shielded from this and have a very positive perspective on the benefits of marriage. I am happily married myself and have three children all of whom live in a secure, respectful and loving environment. At times when they are misbehaving I will chide them about how lucky they are, how sheltered they are and how they don’t know they are born. I encourage them to think of others far less fortunate than themselves, finding myself echoing the comments of my parents to me from many years ago.
In those exchanges with them I began to think: ‘Who am I to encourage them to think of others? What do I do to show them that I actually put some effort into helping others?’
The answers were ‘nobody really’ and ‘nothing’. I would do the occasional bit for local charities or pay a bit of money here and there but I wasn’t really using the skills I had built up professionally to the benefit of anyone, other than myself.
Putting ‘The Spark’ back in to relationships
It was around this time, when I was on a low level personal quest to find a charity that I could actually help a bit, that I was introduced to The Spark. I didn’t want to give money; I actually wanted to be of some use and when the work of The Spark was described to me I thought that this could maybe the case.
The Spark is a relationship charity which relies on a combination of funding and self-generated income. The self-generated income was the part that appealed to me because I believe that in order to succeed one must be able to become self-sufficient without entirely relying on the whims of others. I briefly reviewed the Spark’s online marketing materials and whilst I could see that it looked good, there were a number of elements missing which needed to be improved upon in order to generate more income. If we could grow this element of the charity’s business then more people in general could be provided with relationship counselling and specifically, those without the financial means to receive counselling at all. So at the end of 2015 I volunteered to become a board member of the charity.
How’s it been?
It’s been great. The board meetings are quarterly and that has given me a chance to meet others from different sectors who all have a common interest in ensuring that as many people as possible can be helped by The Spark’s invaluable services. We identified that in order for The Spark to generate more income, an online marketing manager was required and so Stella Gibson (The Spark’s indefatigable Chief Executive) and I embarked upon a recruitment process to find the ideal candidate, who turned out to be Andrew and since then The Spark’s online marketing activity has been on an upward trajectory.
In my day job I’m judged on the numbers and this is the same with my voluntary work at The Spark. Similarly in my day job I’ve arrived at the situation where I’m judged on the numbers but the actual work to get there is down to others; so Andrew if the numbers are good, it’s down to me, if they are bad it’s down to you!
If your relationship is feeling under pressure and you need someone to talk to, The Spark are experts in couple counselling and marriage counselling. To discuss whether counselling could be the right option for you and your partner, freephone 0808 802 0050 in confidence or complete an enquiry form.
The Spark provides a free Relationship Helpline on 0808 802 2088 where you can speak to a member of our team in confidence about the issues you are struggling with. The Relationship Helpline is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 11am – 2pm. Alternatively find out more about relationship counselling with The Spark.