Oh what a night!

Last week was a phenomenal one for Shivia.  The celebrations started on Wednesday evening when we were announced as International Charity 2017 at the Charity Times Awards at the Park Plaza Westminster hotel in London. You can read about it and watch the winning moment here.

The following night we were just across the River Thames at the Houses of Parliament for a special fundraising event hosted on our behalf by Max Patel of CMP Financial, principal partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

Vasant Subramanyan, Victoria Denison and Chris Langridge on the House of Lords terrace

Guests arrived at Westminster Hall and were escorted to the House of Lords Terrace for a champagne reception. The terrace has a spectacular view overlooking the Thames with Westminster Bridge and the Millennium Wheel providing a colourful backdrop….and, by happy coincidence, the Park Plaza hotel, venue for the Charity Times Award ceremony, is clearly visible too.

During the drinks reception, guests were welcomed by Mark Rogers, Executive Director at St. James’s Place Wealth Management and Olly Donnelly, CEO of Shivia.  We were delighted that Vasant Subramanyan, who is the Chairman of Nirdhan (Shivia India), was in London for the week and could join us to say a few words about near-term and long-term plans for our livelihood programmes in West Bengal.

Just before the guests went through to the Churchill Room for dinner we showed our latest video, compiled from footage taken by Victoria during our field visits to the villages surrounding Kolkata where we are working.  The video features a number of our beneficiaries from each of our three programmes and demonstrates the impact we are making with the generous support of our amazing donors, many of whom were in the audience….

Guest speaker Nick Jenkins, Patron of Shivia

Our guest speaker for the evening was Nick Jenkins, Shivia’s Patron.  Nick founded Moonpig.com and, until earlier this year, was a Dragon on BBC2’s Dragons’ Den, making him the ideal candidate to illustrate the importance of having the right product and a market for your product in order to succeed in business, the principle on which all our livelihood programmes are based.

Following on from Nick’s speech was the fundraising auction.  There were nine fantastic prizes on offer, ranging from a private box at the Royal Albert Hall for the Last Night of the Proms 2018 to a holiday in the Dordogne; sailing off the Dorset coast; exclusive tickets for sporting events; a case of fine wine and fabulous works of art.

Mark Rogers volunteered to be our auctioneer for the evening and did an amazing job (second career perhaps?), encouraging the audience to ‘dig deep’ (he’s a rugby man at heart) and put their hands up to raise as much money as possible for our beneficiaries.  It worked.  Mark’s persuasive banter meant that we raised £30,000 from the auction alone.  Added to that was £1,100 from the raffle where the lucky winner received two tickets to see Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium next year.

Malcolm Cooper-Smith, Director of the St. James’s Place Foundation

To cap off an extraordinary evening, Malcolm Cooper-Smith, Director of the St’ James’s Place Foundation, announced that Shivia would be receiving £10,000 in matched funding. So, the final amount raised, including donations from supporters who were unable to attend, was just over £48,000.

Our thanks go to everyone who made the evening an unqualified success – our invited guests (present and absent) who donated so generously, our supporters who donated auction and raffle prizes and the team from St. James’s Place for their time and effort in organising the event.

And finally to Max Patel because without her generosity and inspiration this event would never have happened at all.  Thank you Max.


Meet some of our farmers


I had no way of earning before Shivia introduced me to poultry farming. Now I am a full-time provider for my family and they are very proud of my achievement.…


I now have a regular income from selling eggs and some chickens. This opportunity has really changed our lives. I'm managing to buy medicines for my sick child. Thank you!…


Before this programme we were struggling to cope and owed a lot to the village money-lender.  So much has changed for us now we are earning money from raising chickens.…


Since joining this training programme I have noticed a great many changes…my costs are down, my yield is up and I am making a profit from farming at long last.…

  • I have witnessed first-hand how Shivia has not just changed but transformed people's lives with its livelihood programmes.
    Yasmine Hilton
    Chairman of Shivia
  • Alquity supports Shivia because they transform lives by giving people the opportunity to do things themselves and they do it with dignity.
    Suresh Mistry
    Director, Alquity
  • We were thrilled to see the impact of the work being done and to meet the team on the ground. It was truly humbling to see the difference being made to so many people by this group of highly motivated and capable people.
    Stewart Brown
    Director, Artemis Investment Management LLP
  • We are excited to support such a strategically-minded and professionally run charity that is making a real and sustainable difference. The focus and design of the livelihood programmes are simple and highly effective – and the results speak for themselves.
    Lars-eric Roden
    Director, The T&J Meyer Foundation
  • Farming is my only source of income... I registered with Shivia to learn how to reduce my farming expenses and produce better quality outputs. I am definitely seeing good results compared to previous years and have learned how to make bio-pesticides.
    AMS farmer
    Familia location West Bengal

some of our supporters