To celebrate all things heroic, Brewers Fayre has re-launched the Local Heroes initiative, a bursary scheme to support the unsung heroes of our community.
Brewers Fayre’s ambassador Jeff Brazier is backing the Local Heroes initiative for 2012, where the scheme continues to recognise those who give their time to improve the lives of their fellow local residents.
Whether it’s volunteers who commit themselves to charity work, or local coaches that train the junior Sunday League team out of the goodness of their heart, all are eligible for a share of a £10,000 pot. Once awarded, the cash can be invested towards continuing their community projects within the area.
We talk to Jeff about his support for the campaign and all things parenting.
Hi Jeff! What attracted you to the ‘Local Heroes’ campaign – why did you get involved?
I got involved in Brewers Fayre’s search for a Local Hero as I really appreciate those people who go above and beyond in their local community. These people’s efforts are what really make a difference to not just individuals but to whole communities at a time.
As a child, who was your hero/role model?
As a child I looked up to Glenn Hoddle, my favourite footballer player. But, I had one particular role model in my Sunday football team manager Steve Cowley – he inspired so much confidence in me and motivated me hugely. I remember scoring hundreds of goals for that team in the few years he was my football manager. Everything was done with a smile and he was a fantastic coach that always found ways to make training fun.
How do you find managing a successful and busy career with fatherhood – where’s the balance?
The balance is in just being organised. My mum is my hero, just simply because I couldn’t commit to half of the work that I do if it wasn’t for her support. She selflessly moved from Colchester to Harlow in order to help me out. I have a fantastic relationship and arrangement with my mum whereby she gives me 15 hours a week of her time and I pay half of her rent. It is an arrangement that works for everyone and no one feels like they are asking too much of each other.
Tabloid culture has a huge impact on kids’ lives nowadays – what sorts of parenting techniques do you use with Bobby and Freddie to remind them about the more important things in life?
Parenting is very much a marathon and not a sprint; we have daily battles with our children. I know that one day I will be able to look back and be very proud of what I did
Charity is a common theme for me of late; I cycled across Sri Lanka two weeks ago, 400km in five days, it was really difficult but ultimately very rewarding in the end. I am really glad the boys see me doing things like this, I think it will inspire them to be charitable in the future too.
Often as a family we take our old toys to the local children’s ward and old clothes to the local charity shop. I see it as my responsibility to teach my kids the art of giving and hope that it is something that they enjoy and want to do more.
How would you describe your parenting style?
My parenting style is quite confused as I am Mum and Dad. I have to combine the strictness and no messing approach that a Dad might usually undertake with the soft and sensitive approach that would be usually more associated with Mum.
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever been given?
The best parenting advice that I have ever had is something that I always need constantly reminding of and should probably have tattooed on my arm – it’s to not take it personally. Our jobs are to get the best and worst from our children. You have to remember it isn’t you that they are upset with sometimes, they just aim it in your direction and you have to not take it to heart. You need a thick skin as a parent.
Tell us your one top parenting tip…
For me routine is really important. I have seen a difference in how the boy’s behavior differs out of a routine compared to when we do the same thing at the same time. Kids want to know their boundaries and know where they are at any given time of the day. When they feel really set in a pattern, that’s when you get the best from them, because they feel the most secure.
You now blog for the Huffington Post – what’s it like writing about your personal life from your own perspective? Do you prefer writing or presenting?
I love both actually, I find writing very therapeutic. There is nothing better than taking a problem that is on your mind, writing it down and strangely sharing it with strangers. It is often the feedback on twitter from my columns that help me correct the problem, if writing it down on paper hasn’t corrected it already anyway.
What has been the most challenging aspect of parenting for you?
The most challenging aspect is being responsible for absolutely everything; the fortunate thing for me is that I have always been pretty good at juggling responsibilities. For example on an evening I can be reading a brief for the next day at work, making sure the boys have done their homework and their uniforms are ready for the next day, doing the dinner, washing etc… The jobs are endless but I have grown to be very good at being able to be nonstop. Everything I do enjoy and do with a smile on my face.
And finally, for you, what’s the best thing about being parent?
The best thing is ultimately knowing it is the most important job in the world and one day you can look back at what you have created. Parenting is very much a marathon and not a sprint; we have daily battles with our children. I know that one day I will be able to look back and be very proud of what I did.
To nominate someone for this year’s awards all you need to do is visit the Brewers Fayre website www.brewersfayre.co.uk/localheroes and fill in the online entry form. Alternatively, complete an application form at your local Brewers Fayre restaurant describing why you believe your nominee deserves to be honoured for their work and the amount that could really make a difference.