It’s been more than two years since the British Red Cross almost ruined my life. My employment with them came to a bitter end – for me – after months of bullying which culminated with me being shunted off, alone, to an unused, almost literally a dark broom cupboard in a different office in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to get rid of me. The perpetrators got away with it. Never forget, never forgive the British Red Cross for not saying sorry and effectively calling me a liar for denying it ever happened.
In some ways, I have moved on and I have recovered enough in order to do my new day job to a decent level. I managed to recover thanks to family, friends, mental health professionals and medication. Being driven to a mental breakdown by a worldwide so-called humanitarian charity reads like a contradiction in terms but it really happened. I can’t sleep properly even now, I certainly don’t know how the people involved can.
Having come from a highly professional working environment, it came as a shock to find their were still bullies and abusers in the work environment, people who were happy to bring you down and make you break down, as they did to me. Before and since this life-changing and near life-destroying horror experience, I have generally come across nothing like it.
By the time I left the British Red Cross, I’d received a letter from CEO Mike Adamson who, lest we forget, ‘earns’ a million quid every five or six years, saying how sorry he was that I had been so ill but – and here I paraphrase – his staff had been angelic and perfect. The bullying and abuse had never happened because an independent review had taken place, conducted by people who were as independent as he was.
I’m now at the point where I am beginning to get back my hunger and the self-belief that encouraged me to join the third sector when I ended 39 years in the civil service. Perhaps, I am not as thick as my one ‘O’ level would appear to suggest. Instead of winding down into old age, is there one more challenge waiting for me?
The inability of the British Red Cross to simply say sorry will live with me until my dying day and no matter how many blankets and bottles of water they hand out to victims of disaster, I will never give them another penny and I hope you don’t, either. Instead, why not give to a local charity where you can actually see the results?
As summer turns to autumn, I sense I am beginning to dream of a better day, of new challenges and achievements, of sunlit uplands where there once was darkness. It’s taken a long time to clear the wreckage the last two years. I don’t want it to be in vain.