March 18, 2020 | Issue 6
A chat with charity worker and Genuine Cause recipient Louise Hopwood
The TPS ‘Genuine Parts For Genuine Causes’ fund was launched late last year to offer individuals, community projects and charitable organisations the opportunity to apply to local independent garages, which have a TPS account, for help with repairs needed to keep their vehicles on the road.
TPS provided the free parts and the garage provided free labour, in an initiative designed to help those motorists most in need.
One of the first people to receive assistance was Portsmouth charity worker Louise Hopwood. We dropped by for a chat with Louise about how the TPS ‘Genuine Parts For Genuine Causes’ fund came to her rescue.
Q: Tell us about the charity you work for?
A: I am a Family Support Officer for the Sailors Children Society. It’s a long-established charity, celebrating its 200th anniversary next year, that supports families from a maritime background, including fishing, Merchant Navy, Royal Navy and Royal Marines, who are going through a difficult time.
Q: What does your role involve?
A: I cover a region that goes from Portsmouth to Dover, visiting families in their homes offering emotional and practical support. This includes mental health, physical disabilities, child welfare, child safety, child education, debt and money management. All the families we help are on a means tested benefit which ensures we only help those in most need.
Q: Tell us the background to you applying to the fund?
A: When the SEAT Altea I use for my visits started having problems, I took it to The VW Service Centre in Gosport. They told me it required a full cambelt kit and water pump replacement and it was going to be a costly job. My husband had just been made redundant and money was really tight, so it could not have come at a worse time. I didn’t know what to do and I was faced with taking the car off the road.
Q: What was The VW Service Centre’s response?
A: They were brilliant. I am a regular customer and when I told them I couldn’t afford the repair bill upfront, they instantly suggested the ‘Genuine Parts for Genuine Causes’ fund. They helped me submit the application and put me forward for the Regional Award, which gave £1,000 towards the cost of the repairs. They even recommended my application be approved given the help I provide to the community, which was a nice gesture from them.
Q: How did you feel when you found out your application had been accepted?
A: I was overwhelmed and just so grateful to everyone involved, TPS Portsmouth and The VW Service Centre in Gosport for helping me out. It was a great relief, as I could continue my visits and support the families without the worry of the car being taken off the road.
Q: What has been the response of those you work with?
A: The families I support are so grateful as it meant I could continue to visit them during the Christmas period. It’s a particularly difficult time of the year for many of the families and the support we provide is vital, so they really appreciated the help I received from the fund.
Q: Finally, as we always ask our contributors in the 10-Minute Interview this question, what’s your favourite Volkswagen Group vehicle?
A: My first two cars have both been Polos. They were both very reliable, so I will always be fond of them. If money was no object it would be a SUV model, a Tiguan or something like that.