Changing Lives is teaming up with former Rally Driving Champion, Penny Mallory, to help drive up awareness of its work in supporting thousands of people around the country.
The national charity, with its headquarters in the Northeast that supports people facing life’s extreme challenges such as homelessness, abuse, exploitation and recovery from addiction, approached Penny to be its Celebrity Ambassador after learning about her own past experiences where, as a child she saw alcoholism and mental illness destroy her family.
Together, with her incredible successes in driving and her work as a television presenter, Penny brings her own lived experience of homelessness and struggle that led her to live a perilous existence of abuse, self-harm and drinking after leaving the family home at the age of just fourteen.
Now, Penny, the first and only woman to compete in a World Rally car, is primarily working as a keynote speaker delivering sessions on mental toughness to many different audiences and helping them see and reach their own potential. This includes delivering sessions to major companies such as Microsoft, Google Cloud, Santander, Waitrose, Tesco, Jaguar, Proctor & Gamble, Airbus and more.
Amongst her long list of amazing achievements, she has taken part in many different events including boxing fights, mountaineering, multiple marathons, and was once TV Presenter for the Channel 4 motoring show ‘Driven’ – which very much sums up Penny’s approach to life.
Speaking about taking on her new role with Changing Lives, Penny, said:
“I want to work with a charity that has a wide ranging and wide-reaching impact on changing the lives of people, whatever their situation or circumstances. I have personal experience of poverty, homelessness and family mental health, alcohol, and drug issues so I hope I will be relevant and relatable to the people I meet.
“Helping to change someone's life for the better, even in the smallest way, is what really matters!”
As someone who has an acute awareness of the challenges people face to get their lives back on track, Penny is looking forward to learning more about and getting involved in some of the fantastic work the charity is doing.
Stephen Bell OBE, CEO of Changing Lives, welcomes Penny to the broader team and said: “Penny is an amazing person who has achieved so much, and we look forward to having her with us.
“Through her own experiences, she brings an understanding and empathy to people who are going through similar circumstances to those she faced in the past. We feel she will help raise awareness of the devastating impact that homelessness, abuse, poverty and the risks of drug and alcohol can have on anyone.
“She will encourage people to understand that this can happen to anyone; that it’s not their choice and with the right opportunities, they can move their lives on to achieve the best they can.”
Like so many people, Penny had a dream of what she wanted to be from the age of six years old. It wasn’t to be homeless, and it wasn’t to be on the streets, but it was to be a successful rally driver. In the end she did it.
As Penny clearly says: “At the end of my rally driving career, I drove a Ford Focus World Rally car for M-Sport, Ford’s motorsport team. I had done it – I had reached the top of the rallying tree!” That car is now in the showroom at the M-Sport workshop near Cockermouth, Cumbria.
And like everything else in Penny’s life, she sees taking on this new role as ambassador at Changing Lives as yet another challenge for her to take on and turn into a fantastic success.