Fred Stone Foundation Story
Our story of how the Fred Stone Foundation emerged, founded on a father's realisation and a son's transformative journey, with a mission to empower children through education.
Chapter 1: Fred Stone
Fred Stone Foundation is named in memory of Frederick Sidney Stone (Born Brighton, 1933-1995), father of our founder, David.
Fred grew up in a deprived area of the city, his own father struggling to work having been severely wounded in the trenches in WW1. With the disruption of WW2 and little support for the youth in the local community, education was something not particularly enjoyed, encouraged nor appreciated in those days. Fred left school at 14, as many did then, with no formal qualifications.
Fred did not pursue further education and undertook a variety of low-skilled jobs.
In 1969 he and his wife (a nurse at the Royal Sussex County Hospital) left England to pursue a sunnier climate in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia).
Fred was not a natural scholar, but he could see the importance for his children of education. He could see that education was key to improving life chances and breaking the cycle of poverty and low-income work.
It is this realisation that set the foundations of our charity.
Chapter 2: David Stone
David was born in Zimbabwe and immigrated to England at 15 with his father and 2 sisters (his mum had died abroad when he was just 4). They arrived with just one suitcase each and were granted refugee status by Brighton Council and placed into a ‘Halfway House’ B&B accommodation in central Brighton, sharing just 2 bedrooms between the 4 of them, with lounge and bathroom facilities shared by the entire house.
David had a tough introduction and integration to life in England and attended a local large state comprehensive school. Due to the difficulties he faced at school, and the general lack of discipline, rules and encouragement, David quickly lost interest in education.
Fred, however, knew the utmost importance of the decisions he was making and the lifelong ramifications of his actions if he were to continue disengaging from his education. Having experienced a life of difficulty with income and work stability, he insisted David stay on to complete A-Levels to secure a better future.
David, very begrudgingly, stayed on and completed A-Levels, even though, at that point, he had zero intention of ever attending university.
With 3 quite poor A Levels, David went into full-time employment, working for a year on the Palace Pier and then travelling and working around Europe. Upon returning from Turkey he decided to get on the career ladder and secured a Retail A-Level Trainee Manager job at a store in Churchill Square.
“Within 2 days of starting I knew I had gone wrong, that this was not going to be the life I wanted” – David
It was in this moment he realised the wisdom of his father insisting he take A-Levels, and the options this now afforded him.
Naturally, university was the next step.
David graduated with a 2:1 and began his search for a job, still with no particular career direction in mind. Applying for almost any job that required recent graduates, he saw an advertisement for a recruitment company in Reigate. The advert actually said, “Wanted - Fresh Grads with the Gift of the Gab!” Knowing nothing about recruitment he applied, and was fortunate to secure the role.
The experience gained from this first job helped secure his second job in recruitment at ERC in Lewes (now PSD), where he learnt niche markets, proactive headhunting, international work, technology and, most importantly, met Paul Sansbury, his future co-founder. This series of events led to the creation of Microscape Recruitment Ltd (now known as MRL) in 1997.
And this is why it’s the Fred Stone Foundation. If Fred hadn’t encouraged David to do A levels, none of this would exist today…
Chapter 3: Fred Stone Foundation
The Fred Stone Foundation was founded with the intention of helping local children at underfunded schools have an enjoyable education, instilling a lifelong love of learning and helping children realise the world of opportunity available to them with a good educational foundation beneath them.
It is critical to David that every single pound raised (well, £1.25 per £ raised once grossed up with Gift Aid) goes in full to the beneficiaries. He has pledged that not a penny of donations will ever be taken for charitable running costs, salaries or anything else whatsoever. MRL will bear these costs in their entirety.
David has frequently embarked on charitable initiatives over the years with MRL. One highlight was raising enough funds one year to purchase an incubator for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital (where his mum trained and all five of his children were born!).
Another is the annual Christmas Toy Appeal, an initiative to raise money and collect toy donations from the staff of MRL, local businesses, friends and families, competitors, clients and candidates. The Toy Appeal aims to provide Christmas presents for families who are unable to provide gifts for their children on Christmas day – the aim being that every single child in Brighton will have at least one present to open on Christmas morning.
Whilst it’s hard to measure the impact this initiative has had on children in Sussex, the response MRL receives year after year is overwhelmingly positive, and the happiness it brings to all those involved cannot be put into words. This impact is part of the reason for Fred Stone Foundation existing.
The Christmas Toy Appeal 2022 raised enough money to provide Christmas toys for 1,000 children across Sussex, who would otherwise wake up to nothing under their Christmas tree on a day when everyone should have something.
The Fred Stone Foundation shall primarily benefit children and educational institutions in our local areas. Our first project will be to ‘adopt’ one of the most underfunded schools in Brighton - Hertford Junior School.
We are working with the Headteacher and staff at Hertford to identify the areas most in need of attention, as well as some quick “spot fixes” such as 30 glockenspiels for the infants, 30 pairs of Wellington boots, waterproof clothing for forestry school, and sanitary products, which are not otherwise funded by the council until secondary school age.
Larger initiatives, which we aim to run termly, will include an overhaul of the library (they have not had new books in 25 years!), outdoor play & sports equipment, IT equipment and also fully funded trips for the children to places like the theatre or Drusillas Zoo.
In time, David would like to encourage other firms around Britain to also adopt a local school and to help instil a love of learning and open up a world of opportunity for underprivileged children everywhere.
Meet The team
Ways to get involved
Step up and champion the cause. Launch a fundraiser and stand as a beacon of hope for underfunded schools in Brighton and Hove.
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