More than 50 business people from across the Leeds region came together last Thursday (22 November) to hear internationally-renowned speaker Richard McCann return to his home city to explain how he has overcome some of life’s toughest challenges.
The event, hosted by law firm Clarion, was Richard’s 2,494th presentation sharing his inspirational story in support of The Leeds Fund, a charitable initiative managed by Leeds Community Foundation.
Richard had a tough childhood and had been on the social services’ ‘at risk’ register since he was born. At just six years old, in 1975, Richard’s mother didn’t come home. He and his sister went to look for her and the police later found her body close to their home – she had been the first victim of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.
Richard was put into care and later went to live with his sometimes violent father who had problems with drink. He subsequently had problems with drugs himself and spent time in prison. However, Richard decided to turn his life around, – he is now a motivational speaker, addressing audiences all over the world, and a family man, happily married with three children. He has published four books about his life, with his first selling half a million copies and translated into 11 languages.
Richard shared some vital lessons from his iCan approach. “When you look at someone you can’t tell what they’ve been through or what they’re capable of. We all have our own personal tragedies and challenges, but the important thing to remember whenever you’re at a low period is that it will be followed by an up.
“I decided that I could step out of my comfort zone and achieve whatever I wanted. I had counselling for over two years and it’s important that people aren’t afraid to ask for help. Having a positive mind set is a choice and if I can overcome the things I’ve been through, you can too – never underestimate your potential.”
The event, which raised £1,100 for The Leeds Fund, was the first in a second series of Leeds Together events, in partnership with four key organisations in Leeds: Clarion, Irwin Mitchell, Leeds Community Foundation, RSM UK and Skybet Betting and Gaming. Bringing together businesses and the community, the events provide an opportunity to grow existing connections and understand the issues facing the city whilst raising awareness and raising money for The Leeds Fund.
Justine Osmotherley, Partner at Clarion said: “It was incredibly rewarding to hear Richard speak about his struggles and how he overcame real hardship to succeed in life. It provided a real sense of perspective whilst also highlighting how, with the right help and support, anyone can reach their full potential. Initiatives like The Leeds Fund, supported by events like this one, are doing just this kind of work – helping to lift up our communities and the most vulnerable within them. We’re very proud at Clarion to support such great work.”
The Leeds Fund partners with businesses and individuals to create positive change in the communities of Leeds that need it most. Over the last 13 years, the Leeds Foundation has allocated £38m to local communities and is currently focusing on bringing people ‘from loneliness to inclusion’.