Social Good Six Interview 9: Lucy Laycock



Lucy Laycock, 26, founded The Pendsey Trust in 2013 following a life-changing visit to India in 2011 to make a radio documentary about the situation for those with Type 1 diabetes there. She continues to take a leading role in developing and running the charity and leading the board of trustees alongside her full time career. Further information about the work of the charity can be found at


1- In no more than three sentences, please explain what you do

In 2013 I founded The Pendsey Trust, a small charity which provides lifesaving medication and access to educational opportunities for those with Type 1 diabetes in the developing world, thousands of whom die unnecessarily every year because they cannot afford insulin. The few sources of free/ subsidized insulin available stop at the age of 18, which is why we fund education and vocational training, to allow these individuals to enter employment and afford their own ongoing health costs. Two things are particularly unusual about The Pendsey Trust; firstly, the charity is run entirely by volunteers in our spare time, with all of us having demanding full time jobs, and secondly, we are all in our twenties.



2- Who inspires you?

I was inspired to set up The Pendsey Trust after visiting the DREAM Trust in India, which is run by Dr Sharad Pendsey, an internationally renowned Indian endocrinologist. After witnessing the deaths of two young girls whose families could not afford insulin, he started providing free insulin for those in similar situation, telling his wife, “We must do something.” The achievements of the clinic are remarkable, with hundreds of children and adults who are not only alive but thriving entirely due to his efforts and those of this staff in raising awareness of their plight. In particular, his belief that these children deserve, and can achieve, a better life through the power of education is very inspiring to me, particularly as I meet success cases among those he has helped.


I am equally inspired by those young people we help, who grab the opportunities we are able to offer them with both hands even in the face of adversity, and the amazing (and sometimes crazy!) supporters of the charity who make our work possible.


3- What is the biggest change you want to see in the world?

I think the world could be a lot better place if people just took a little time to think about others sometimes. That starts with the little things by you and me; making a telephone conversation to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while to make their day, or donating some food to a food-bank. But on a higher level; it means the drug companies thinking about the impact of policy changes or price increases to the people who need that medication to survive on the other side of the world. However for the readers, let’s stick at trying to do one nice thing a day for someone else 🙂


4- What would you like to be remembered for?

When I started The Pendsey Trust, I did it with the belief that if we could change one life with our work, then that would be better than changing none. Now, two years on, when the charity has changed not one, but hundreds of lives, I would like to hope that what I have done would inspire others that anyone can do something to make the world a better place, no matter what their background. When I started the charity, I was 23, had a challenging full time job, and with no experience in running a charity, spent a lot of time wading through red tape. Two year on, balancing running the charity with my career and my personal life continues to be a challenge, but one that I couldn’t live without now! If I can do it, anyone can.


 5- What is the most interesting new idea you’ve come across in the past year?

I am really interested in the concept of crowdsourcing and how we can utilise this further. Jessica Mevel, a student who is undertaking a cycle expedition in India for us at the end of August, has recently been interning at Globalgiving UK and it is amazing hearing about the work that they do there. I think this is an idea that would work really well for The Pendsey Trust, as we always communicate to supporters how money is spent- for example; £40 sends a child to school for a year, or £60 buys a woman a sewing machine so that she can set up her own business. Quantifying donations in this way makes it feel much more achievable for supporters to achieve change


6- Finally, how can people engage with your work if they’d like to learn more/help?

As we grow, and continue to be entirely powered by volunteers so that every penny can go where it is needed, we are desperate for more help! I truly believe that everyone has a skill which can be useful to a charity; whether you love organising events, could arrange a talk at a local interest group, fancy taking part in an active challenge for us, or would like to learn more about running a charity- we’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch at, or visit our website at


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