Raj Soni – capturing the spirit of an amazing young man
Five years ago Raj and Sue Soni’s lives were changed forever when their son Raj died following a cycling accident. The outpouring of love for him from so many people whose lives he had touched lit the flame in his family to do something positive that would capture his spirit and help other people by supporting and developing young people through sport and music – Raj’s two ‘big loves’.
Raj and Sue knew they could bring people together to raise funds so they considered setting up their own charity in Raj’s name but were daunted by the governance, administration and finance requirements with which they would have to comply.
Through their wide network they kept hearing about Quartet Community Foundation and, after meeting Ronnie Brown, they realised that Quartet could not only free them from the administrative constraints but also give advice and support.
Sue said: “Raj had a happy, secure childhood with lots of opportunities so he knew the joy and fulfilment that sport and music give young people. Because we both grew up in Bristol, we knew that too many children and young people here don’t have those same chances. Quartet have been a great support, helping us find the way to achieve our aims and we’re delighted that the Raj K Soni Legacy Fund is helping transform people’s lives.”
The passion for helping others runs deeply through this family. Raj remembers taking part in his first sponsored swim at just 10 years old followed by many other fundraising activities.
The high point of their fundraising each year is “The Longest Swim” – a marathon swimming gala at Portishead Open Air Pool which saw 500 participants in 2017. They have raised over £100,000 so far and, with clever use of Gift Aid, 100% of donations have gone to support local good causes.
Sue commented: “We started off making lots of small grants and as the years have gone on we’ve developed our philanthropy so now we’re making more impactful grants. I’d advise anyone wanting to give to have a purpose for their giving and understand the impact of their philanthropy.”
After five years Raj’s spirit is still giving opportunities and inspiration to so many people.