Phillip Clayton is the head of fundraising and development at City Hearts, one of the UK’s leading anti-trafficking charities and headquartered in Sheffield.
He tells unLTD about the ‘positive, persistent and purposeful’ charity which over the last 15 years has supported more than 3,500 survivors of modern slavery

I was inspired to join my business by…

When working in banking I spent two hours with a family, helping them manage their personal finances – they left with a plan and peace of mind. But my manager wasn’t very impressed, because I had not sold them a credit card or other banking product.

At this point I realised I got more fulfilment from helping people than making money. When the opportunity came up to work for a life-changing organisation like City Hearts, I jumped at the chance.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve set up multiple safe houses for victims of human trafficking, community projects serving hundreds of survivors and pioneered life-saving support programmes.

My favourite thing about my role is…

Seeing lives changed every day – knowing because of my work people are being released from trauma and into free, dignified, brighter futures. The fulfilment from this will last longer than any monetary reward.

The three words that best describe my business are…

Positive, persistent and purposeful.

Sheffield City Region is a great place to start a business because…

The care and compassion, as well as innovation, in the charity sector is incredible. The sense of collaboration and drive to make the region better by helping people to be the best they can be is excellent.

Sheffield City Region is a great place to grow a business because…

It’s full of people who want to help people. From businesses to universities and non-governmental organisations, the drive for positive change makes it a constant joy to work and collaborate here.

The best advice I ever got was…

Failure is your friend. Don’t be afraid to try something –
if you aim at nothing, you hit nothing. Pioneering is not easy, clean or smooth, but it is the way great things are born.

The worst advice I ever got was…

Wait until you have the money before you start! If I had, hundreds of victims would be alone and unsupported right now. I believe resource follows vision, creativity is released when cornered – having little or no money is often when the best ideas take seed.

When an idea is grown from the grassroots, meeting a real need, then the money and resource will find it. I don’t chase money, I chase change.

The organisations that have supported me and my business include…

Business in the Community, The Archer Project, John Lewis, Greencore, Aldi, Tony’s Chocolonely, Asda, and the Police, Probation, and Social Services.

The main challenges facing my industry/sector are…

Access to trauma counselling and therapeutic interventions, appropriate legal advice, essential items and items that add human value beyond the bare minimum.

In 5 years’ time I expect my business to…

Be continuing to lead the way in supporting survivors of modern slavery and helping people find a crime-free future.