In 2013, Phil Meredith's son was born prematurely at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and spent four months in its special care baby unit, Buscot Ward.
Shortly after his son came home, Meredith decided to become involved with Bibs (Babies in Buscot Support), a small charity that supports babies and their families in the unit – about 600 infants spend time there each year.
He spent a year as vice-chair of Bibs before becoming chair. He had previously volunteered for the baby support charity Bliss, but he had no experience as a trustee.
"My background is in sales and marketing, so I saw an opportunity to transfer my skills to help the charity," he says. "People generally don't know about Bibs unless they are in the unit, so I saw a chance to raise awareness. I threw in ideas about social media, making more use of Twitter and Facebook."
After being made redundant, Meredith took 11 months out of work and threw himself into the charity's activities. "I was open about expectations of what the role would be like," he says. "At the end of the day, it's all about getting enough funds."
But he says that awareness of the charity's work is also crucial. "It helps people whose babies are in the unit, as well as the wider community, to see or hear about the unit's success stories," he says.
The charity has also been selected as a partner in the Reading Half Marathon, which will take place in late March. "The local community has got behind us so much," he says. "I feel that our work has really kicked off in recent months – so much so that it could easily be a full-time job."
His 11-month sabbatical will end in June this year, and he has not yet decided what he will do. "I'll play it by ear," he says.