From volunteer to sponsor

This post has been written by Martlets volunteer Jill Cochrane

Mathew Prior returns to support this year’s Martlets’ Art Trail, but this time as CEO of Trusted Housesitters, he’s sponsoring a Shaun the Sheep.  

Back in 2018 Mathew and his wife Anna volunteered their time to support our Snailspace Art Trail. 

“We loved every minute of it – from handing out trail maps to driving the snail car around the city. And we even donned our rubber gloves to help keep all the snails buffed up!” 

Shaun gets his stripes 

After his volunteering experience Mathew jumped at the chance to get the business involved. Trusted Housesitters is sponsoring Ze-baaaa created by Brighton-based artist and illustrator J David Bennett.  

Mathew says: “At its heart Trusted Housesitters is about pets. We’ve grown to be the largest marketplace dedicated to pet care, so in keeping with our ethos, we selected J David Bennett’s zebra inspired design. Shaun the Sheep dressed as a zebra simply made us laugh.” 

Animal instinct 

“I think it’s safe to say there’s a little animal instinct at play here, as well as making perfect business sense to be part of Shaun by the Sea. 

Mathew adds: “We’re a purpose-led organisation with 175,000 members worldwide, but Brighton is still very much our home as it’s where the business started. Being involved with Martlets’ Art Trail provides us with a unique opportunity to increase awareness as I’m sure there are still people that have never heard of us.” 

Coming together 

“I’m fortunate enough not to have had any personal friends or relatives that have needed Martlets. As a volunteer though my wife and I visited the hospice. By walking around and meeting the staff you see what an amazing place it is. And the incredible amount of comfort it provides for people at a very important time in their lives.  

Given the previous Arts Trails, here at Martlets we’re continually impressed and deeply grateful for the support of our local business community – and Shaun by the Sea is no exception. It’s clear from chatting to Mathew and others that their involvement has tremendous value to them both personally and as a business. 

Mathew says: “The Art Trail brings us together with a common purpose. I think we’re not alone in that a lot of businesses want to do something good. We have such a strong business community here and this campaign provides another way for us to come together.” 

Bringing joy 

We know that our Art Trails bring an enormous amount of joy to the city, its residents and the thousands of people that visit – and Mathew is of the same mind. 

“We get used to our own streets, and if you’re local, you tend to do the same walks and go to the same places. Shaun by the Sea is a great opportunity to see different parts of the city that you wouldn’t otherwise. The artists are extraordinary too – you just don’t know what you’re going to get next, so there’s a great sense of discovery, curiosity, and of course, the joy of getting out in the fresh air.” 

I’ve no doubt that everyone who visits this year’s Shaun by the Sean will experience the same community spirit that Mathew and his wife Anna felt when they volunteered. 

A gift to the community 

Mathew concludes: “What really struck my wife and I most was how many people were doing it as a family outing or with friends over three or four weekends. The Art Trail provides a great sense of release and brings an incredible sense of wellbeing to the city – and it’s a lot of fun too!  

There’s such affinity with Martlets – you know, like slowing down and appreciating what’s around you. There are so many things to like about Shaun by the Sea. It’s such a great gift to the community.” 

Shaun by the Sea runs until 5 November. 

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