Pro bono support in action!

As the Land Aid pro bono programmes continues to go from strength to strength, we hear from Carrie Herbert, Founder of the Red Balloon Trust who talks about the value that pro bono support from the property and real estate industries holds for charities across the country like hers.

What an amazing service! How wonderful to have professional lawyers, surveyors, estate agents, city planners, architects, graphic designers, and others providing charities with their expertise, knowledge, and experience on a pro bono basis.  26 years ago, I had no idea what those words meant, but now I know these words mean for nothing.  That is music indeed to a charity’s ears with limited funding and budget.

This is a service which would usually command hundreds of pounds per hour for jobs that may well take 10 hours to complete and for which charities had not reckoned or budgeted. It is a truly generous example from the property industry of giving-in-kind- priceless!  And this charitable gift is granted by professional workers in an individual capacity with agreement and support from their employers, who understand that their services can help the funds that charities raise, receive, or earn in going the extra mile.

Pro bono providers will not be asked to commit to more than they can reasonably offer.  A zoom call or in person meeting will usually take place at the charity where all involved will assess and process the charity’s needs. A plan is then put in place! Things happen, the plan is accomplished, and the charity can continue the support that they give, confident that the work undertaken has been of the highest professional standard.

I am the founder of a charity, the Red Balloon Educational Trust.

We are a charity that helps the recovery of severely bullied and traumatised children who have self-excluded from school. Our job is to help these young people return to academic studies, build up their self esteem, learn strategies to deal with their emotional concerns and re-engage with social activities among their peers.  In due course they continue their educational journey back at mainstream school, at a college of further education or a sixth form or enter an apprenticeship or employment. Over 94% of our young people are successful in achieving this.

Starting in Cambridge with the first Learner Centre for 20 secondary school-aged children and then setting up centres in Norwich, Reading, Harrow and Worthing and hubs in Danbury, Essex and Milton, Cambs, our expansion was helped in a variety of ways by pro bono support from the property and real estate industries.

Over the last 26 years we have needed professional help in areas in which we were unskilled and at a cost that we could not afford. Give me a child who struggles with reading, and I am on home turf.  Ask me to draft a lease and I am lost!

That’s where LandAid and the support from the industry come in.

Red Balloon has been given pro bono help at several levels:

Estate agents finding appropriate houses for our Centres,

A graphic designer designing Red Balloon’s logos,

A photographer taking photos for promotional literature,

Lawyers advising us on employment law with regard to staffing difficulties,

Surveyors surveying buildings,

Experts completing planning change of use forms,

Solicitors dealing with leases,

Marketers advising on promotion campaigns.


We have been blessed and I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you across the property and real estate industries – not just those who have given your time to Red Balloon pro bono, but ALL the professionals who have advised, devised, drafted, drawn and designed for other charities.

So, a message for those of you considering giving your time, expertise, and experience pro bono. Just try it – I think you will find it engenders a warm glow inside!

Have you been inspired to donate your time and skills?

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