At the beginning of June we wrote about Pat Fisher and her charity Gizmo we described Pat as ‘truly inspirational’.
Well it turns out there are a lot of people in the town who think along the same lines because last week Pat was presented with the More Radio “Inspiration” award at a gala celebration evening held in Azur.
The award was for; “…a group or individual who truly defines the word inspiration. Whether it be through one act of bravery, or selflessness, or years of determination and hard work,” given her years of hard work with the young people of Hastings and St Leonards Pat more than fitted the bill.
Just a few weeks ago Pat thought her charity was on the brink of closure as it struggled to find the cash to keep going but just a few weeks later the future for Gizmo looks a whole lot brighter and the award is the icing on the cake. But with three decades of youth work under he belt Pat knows she can’t afford to rest on her laurels because fundraising to keep Gizmo going is a full time job and while Pat is delighted by the results of her latest push for funds she knows that if she lets momentum drop then in a few months time she could be on the brink again.
An award for inspiring others is fitting tribute for Pat who has dedicated her life to putting the welfare of others before themselves. She has run Gizmo since 2003 and money to keep it going has always been an issue. It’s £1,500 a month just to keep the show on the road and Pat hasn’t had a holiday in 25 years and says even if she could afford a break she wouldn’t take it, because of ‘her’ kids.
These days Gizmo runs two sessions a week – Pat would like to do more. On a Friday night youngsters gather to play games but also to get a good meal. Dom’s Food Mission delivers to Gizmo and she is happy that means all ‘her kids’ get a wholesome meal that night. Anything left over is distributed at the Saturday session where youngsters learn a range of performance arts from dancing and singing to acting and writing. The Gizmo kids have been putting their talents on show at a range of events over recent weeks including the St Leonards festival, they perform at up to 30 events every year.
Gizmo works with those aged from five to 18 and its primary aim is to help them develop communication and social skills and build confidence and ambition. While she is happy to do what she does Pat still wants to do more, she would love to return to the days when Gizmo was open for eight session every week.
Pat can point to many success stories, to youngsters who had perhaps been written off elsewhere but have flourished under her guidance. Performing, she says teaches them a great deal about themselves and demonstrates that if they put the effort in to hone their performance they get the rewards from having been part of something that has been successful.
Pat says fund raising these days is almost a “full-time job” she receives £2,000 a year from Hastings Borough Council through the Safer Hastings Partnership and recently she received £2,000 from The Ashfield Trust.
Pat is proud of what she does, she says: “Gizmo is a multiple award winning project that can boast a 95 per cent success rate in deterring its young people from engaging in anti-social behaviour, crime and involvement in drug taking and alcohol abuse through positive activities and interventions in an area where this kind of behaviour is rife.
“Most of the young people involved have gone on to further education, training and now have employment.”
The award, voted for by the listeners to More Radio, is testimony to the effectiveness of Pat’s tireless work in the community and means that she knows that people in the wider community recognise what a good job she is doing.