shallow focus photography of person walking on road between grass

Walking for Dot

By Linda Duberley, Rivertribe Magazine

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed many of the UK’s small charities to the brink of financial collapse but RiverTribe’s media partner, the Dot Com Foundation has survived the pandemic thanks to a ground-breaking altruistic project. The Positive Transformation Initiative set up by businessman and philanthropist, Dan Brown, has stepped in to support the Foundation as we pulled out of lockdown.

Dan Brown set up PTI, a group of key business professionals, eighteen months ago. They aim to support organisations making a vital contribution to the community in the UK and beyond.

Together with lawyer Sylvia White, and Barry Matthews who form part of the core team at PTI, now have enough cash to weather the storm that is likely to take down hundreds of charities under threat.

Over the past few months, Sylvia White, General Counsel and an in-house legal adviser, has given her time pro-bono to help the charity and now believes in the cause so much that has decided to generate some much-needed funds by walking a marathon this Sunday, June 21.

Co-founder of the Dot Com Foundation, Sharon Doughty, said, “I am very grateful that the Dot Com Foundation is one of the first projects being undertaken by PTI. We believe our unique approach in supporting youngsters threatened by abuse, drugs or crime, has never been needed more. We can’t just continue to deal with these issues in a superficial way – we have to empower children in recognising and assessing danger and deliver a way for them to get help. Dot is a tool which gives children life skills to deal with their own mental health and emotions.”

Sharon, a former Sky News presenter and her husband Neil, a former Metropolitan Police Officer, have been running the Dot Com Children’s Foundation and fundraising for it for 15 years and have been supported by several police forces. More than a million children have learned through paper-based journals and just before COVID-19 struck the couple faced the daunting job of digitising the content to set up

Essex Police Chief Constable, BJ Harrington and Stephen Kavanagh Executive Director of Police Forces at Interpol and the former UK Head of Digital Security were instrumental in supporting the Foundation.

“Funding in time of change is always difficult and then COVID-19 came along and schools closed and it has required all our fortitude to keep going. COVID-19 has had a severe impact on charitable funding.

“I created the cartoon character Dot Com who would be a friend to children because as a child growing up between the ages of 3 and 7 I lived with domestic violence and sexual abuse.

“The trauma of these experiences led to learning difficulties and I was not able to read until I was 8 years old and safely living with my maternal grandmother. I was lucky to be loved and mentored by a number of wonderful people and so recovered and went on to be an international newsreader.

“I started the Dot Com learning programme so that no other child would suffer the pain of feeling alone and not understanding how to ask for help. I believe that we have all learned, while in the grip of this terrible virus, that a sense of being in things together is so comforting.

“When I started Dot Com I was blessed that Nelson Mandela was Dot’s first supporter. He said, “if we were all imbued with the same spirit of kindness the world would be a better place for children”.

“The charity needs financial support to go forward and I would ask if you could support Sylvia in her brave endeavour to walk a marathon for Dot by donating.

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