Category Archives: Charity & CSR

Over 40% loss of income – East Midlands children’s charity sends plea to local people to not forget them during coronavirus crisis as they and others battle to stay afloat

Nottingham-based charity, Footprints CEC, is urging people not to stop donating during the current public health pandemic, as the not-for-profit sector continues to be one of the hardest hit.

The charity, which provides conductive education for children with mobility or communication difficulties across the East Midlands, and a support network for the families, has experienced a funding loss of over 40% since the crisis began.

It’s the same story for charities across the country with The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) recently warning that losses for the sector during the pandemic could be “in the region of £4 billion”.

Charities and not-for-profits have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic due to the wide-spread cancellation of many large-scale fundraising events – such as The London Landmarks Half Marathon – which they rely on for much-needed funds.

Footprints alone had 15 runners taking part in the race (due to take place last month) with an expected income of £20,000 from the one event. For the independent charity – which currently supports 60 local children – even a small decline in its income could lead to its collapse.

Footprints, which has been operating in Nottingham for 39 years, must raise a minimum of £17,000 a month to survive; providing its vital services to the families who simply rely on the charity for the progression of their child who needs its specialist services. The charity’s funds are used directly to support children between the ages of six months and eleven years, with neurological and chromosomal disorders and motor development issues, helping them to learn lifelong skills and develop independence.

It costs the charity £85 to deliver a session for one parent and child, which enables them to develop the child’s sitting, standing, walking, sensory development, speech and language and eating and drinking skills. £25 buys a supply of bubbles, chewy tubes and other equipment to help with specialist speech therapy for children with Down’s Syndrome.

Already at a loss of over 40% of income, Footprints expects this to decline even further as the pandemic continues and government restriction measures are in place.

Applications for continuation funds are suspended as all funding is being deviated to support coronavirus related activity and while the government did announce last week a £750m support package for the charity sector during the outbreak, many charities don’t yet know if they will be eligible or when the funds will come through.

Nathalie Bailey-Flitter, manager at Footprints CEC said: “Since the pandemic hit, there has been a massive worry for the future of our charity. Without funding support, ours and other charities will simply not survive, and children with disabilities and their parents or carers will lose a valued lifeline. Children’s services, in particular, are already struggling to cope so public support for charities is crucial.

“We have been operating in Nottingham for nearly four decades and have helped many hundreds of children since our inception with the development of life skills that many of us take for granted. We rely solely on donations, which have been extremely limited under the current circumstances and it’s heart-breaking that because of the lockdown, we haven’t been able to deliver our face to face sessions for our families. We have however adapted where we can and are delivering some virtual sessions to enable our children to continue with their essential conductive progression.

“While the current situation is challenging for everyone, I would urge the people of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and beyond to consider supporting those organisations most in need. This pandemic has really brought out people’s sense of community and empathy so perhaps now is the time to choose a worthy cause and support them in any way you can.
“Our early intervention support gives disabled children the opportunity to gain the confidence, essential skills and quality of life that many non-disabled people take for granted. We cannot emphasise enough that the need for support is urgent. Our children will not get this time back.”

If you would like to support the charity, you can donate to its Keep Footprints Afloat campaign: http://bit.ly/KeepFootprintsAfloat

South West hospitals receive protective equipment from builders merchant

With people and companies across the country pulling together to support NHS staff working hard during the Covid-19 crisis, South West-based RGB Building Supplies has donated personal protective equipment to Royal Cornwall Hospital and North Devon District Hospital.

RGB’s Bodmin branch gave 12 boxes of gloves and 2 boxes of face masks to be used by Royal Cornwall Hospital staff working in the Emergency Department.

The builders merchant’s Barnstaple branch, together with product suppliers RODO Ltd and Toolbank Exeter, was able to donate more than 1,000 goggles, face shields, masks, and full face visors to North Devon NHS staff.

Lee Kift, Branch Manager at RGB Barnstaple, commented: “People and companies across the region have been working together to do all they can to help each other, so a huge thank you to RODO Ltd and Toolbank Exeter for responding so quickly and helping us donate protective equipment.”

Steve Best, Branch Manager at RGB Bodmin, added: “It really is times like these that bring out the best in people and we’re happy to join others in our area by doing what we can to support our local NHS employees.”

The National Lottery Supports Communities with up to £300M Devoted to COVID-19

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £300M will be used to support the most vulnerable in communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.

By playing The National Lottery, £30M is raised every week on average by National Lottery players for projects big and small across the country. Hundreds of millions of pounds will be distributed to charities and local voluntary organisations over the next few months to help support people through the Covid-19 crisis – from helping support food banks, to causes that combat loneliness and isolation, support for the elderly and projects that support health in the community.

The initiative, enabled by The National Lottery Community Fund, will ensure that National Lottery funding is able to be deployed at scale to help projects the length and breadth of the country in what is the UK’s biggest non-governmental contribution to the efforts in local communities to combat Covid-19.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“The Fund has always supported projects that help people and communities across the UK thrive. And now, the Fund is switching its focus for the foreseeable future on supporting charities seeking to mitigate the unprecedented pressure communities are coming under as the country rallies to overcome the virus.”

Nigel Railton, CEO of Camelot, operator of The National Lottery said:

“Week in week out, National Lottery players make a huge difference to the lives of people and communities across the UK. Just by buying a ticket, players in every nation have helped raise over £40 billion for good cause projects, from supporting our athletes to repairing scout huts.

“Now, more than ever, The National Lottery can play a critical role in supporting our communities as we all face this challenge together. Up to £300m raised by National Lottery players will be helping to fund vital work in local communities at a time when it’s needed the most.”

National Lottery players are encouraged to play online at national-lottery.co.uk or by downloading the National Lottery app and only buy their tickets in retail as part of their essential shop.

RGB choose Exeter school as its latest Community Fund recipient

Exeter’s Ladysmith Junior School has been voted as the latest winner of RGB Building Supplies’ Well Built Community Fund and now has £1,000 to spend on tools and building materials at RGB Exeter.

The school received the most votes following a public poll where it was up against Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society and the UK Wild Otter Trust in Umberleigh.

Ladysmith Junior School has been gifted a Plymouth City Bus, which it’s planning to transform into a useable area for children to sit and have quite reading time during breaks, and for teachers to use with smaller groups outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Mark Wilkinson, Headteacher at Ladysmith Junior School, commented:

“Our talented Site Manager Andy Hawkins will be taking on the majority of the work, so we’ll be using the money to purchase new tools, in particular a belt sander and table saw, for him to use, and also some materials needed for the project. It’s an amazing opportunity for us to create something unique for our pupils, and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for us. Thank you also to RGB for the generous donation.”

Paul West, Branch Manager at RGB Exeter, visited the school to see the bus and meet some of the pupils who will be using it. He added:

“Well done to Ladysmith Junior School; I was delighted to visit and learn more about how the donation will be used. I wish them every success with the reading bus project and look forward to returning to see the transformation.”

Aegon UK raises more than £106,000 for charity

Fundraising went into overdrive in 2019, as Aegon UK employees working with their Atos colleagues raised £106,471 for good causes UK wide.

£92,268 of this was for the seven employee selected charity partners. The remaining £14,200 was raised for a range of other good causes through matched funding and personal fundraising.

Three of the charities attended a presentation at Aegon’s Edinburgh Park HQ where they received a cheque for more than £25,000 from new CEO, Mike Holliday-Williams. Cheque presentations were also held at the other Aegon UK sites in London, Witham, Salford and Peterborough. A breakdown of the fundraising for each of the seven charities can be found below.

Mike Holliday-Williams, CEO, Aegon UK commented:

“Employees have gone above and beyond in 2019 to support the company’s commitment to giving back to our local communities – from nominating the charities close to their hearts, through to the passion and dedication shown in raising these funds for fantastic causes. I’m extremely impressed with the dedication and efforts of those involved and I’ve no doubt this will continue throughout 2020.

“I would also like to thank the charity committees across all the locations for their hard work in keeping up the momentum and delivering for our charity partners. As a business our mission is to help people take responsibility for their future and achieve a lifetime of financial security. So helping people is at the core of what Aegon does, and the fundraising work we do as a company clearly endorses that.”

The company charity committees and employees coordinated everything from raffles, quizzes and bake sales, to marathons, choirs and knitting challenges to raise funds throughout the year. Aegon UK then matched these funds pound for pound, bringing the grand charitable total to £92,268.16 for the seven charity partners.

25% of all funds raised went to the National Charity and 75% of money raised in each location went to the local charity or charities.

Shona Richardson, The Brain Tumour Charity’s Community Fundraiser for Scotland said: “It has been an honour for us to have been chosen as Aegon’s charity partner during this last year. We are inspired by the level of commitment, support and fundraising that they have shown us in raising such an outstanding amount to help everyone affected by a brain tumour diagnosis.

“As the UK’s foremost brain tumour charity, we are leading the way in fighting brain tumours on all fronts through our work and we couldn’t achieve this without the incredible efforts and determination of everyone at Aegon and all our supporters.

“Together, we will find a cure.”

Neil McIntosh, Trustee & Group Chair, West Lothian Riding for the Disabled Association comments:

“On behalf of everyone at West Lothian RDA, I want to thank everyone at Aegon and Atos for raising such an amazing sum of money. We were absolutely delighted to be nominated as one of your corporate partner charities last year and the amount raised is way beyond our wildest expectations.

“This funding is nearly a whole year of operating costs which is just incredible. Having this level of funding is a new experience for us and the news is still sinking in! It will allow us to refresh our current arena surface which is needing attention, we can look for additional horses to expand our herd allowing us to offer riding to a wider range of participants and can help with other projects. Overall, this funding will allow us to improve our participants experience and expand our capabilities. Thank you so, so much! As we say at RDA, it’s what you can do that counts!”

Sara Fitzsimmons MBE, RM, CEO, SiMBA comments:

“It was an honour for SiMBA to be chosen as an Aegon/Atos nominated charity and I would like to extend a huge thank you to all colleagues for their incredible fundraising efforts throughout our partnership. The funds that you have raised will help to support not only our core services which includes our Memory Boxes, support groups and training but also the refurbishment of our family room in St. John’s Hospital in Livingston, which we hope to unveil later this year.

“The difference that Family Rooms can make to a parent’s experience within the hospital is incredible; making memories, taking pictures, cuddling and preparing to say goodbye together. We are deeply humbled and extremely grateful for the support that Aegon/Atos have given to SiMBA.”

The charities were chosen as the result of a company-wide vote on a shortlist of charities nominated by Aegon UK employees.

In 2020 Aegon UK employees and Atos colleagues will be supporting:

National charity – Macmillan Cancer Support
Edinburgh local charities – CHAS and Alzheimer’s Scotland
London local charity – London Air Ambulance
Manchester local charities – Forever Manchester and The Dianne Oxberry Trust
Peterborough local charity – East Anglia Children’s Hospices
Witham local charities – Farleigh Hospice and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

Leading rugby stars auction one-of-a-kind helmets to tackle ATV safety

International rugby stars Tom Youngs and Will Addison have teamed up with Honda to promote the importance of wearing a helmet when operating ATVs and utility vehicles. Coming from farming backgrounds, both are aware of the dangers presented by a job in agriculture, which is widely considered the most hazardous industry in Great Britain.

Putting their creative talents to the test, both Youngs and Addison designed bespoke ATV helmets, which were brought to life by paint experts Image Design Custom and made possible by Honda, the manufacturer of the world’s first ATV. The helmets will be auctioned between 30th January and 29th March 2020 to raise money for two charities; Yellow Wellies and Headway.

Yellow Wellies, an award-winning charity, is dedicated to supporting the physical and mental well-being of UK farmers and agricultural workers. Headway, meanwhile, works to improve life after brain injury by providing vital support and information services to those affected. Fellow farmer Gareth Wyn Jones and British Superbike star Tom Neave have also designed helmets for the campaign.

Tom Youngs, hooker for Leicester Tigers, commented:

“Farming and rugby are both difficult jobs that present challenges daily. ATVs are commonplace on most farms; however, there are fatalities and life-changing injuries sustained every year that could easily be prevented by wearing a helmet.” Youngs is a fifth-generation farmer and grew up on a farm which has been in the family since the 1920s.

Will Addison, fullback for Ulster Rugby and Ireland, said:

“No fatalities have been recorded in ATV accident cases in the UK when a helmet was worn and we want to make sure that it stays that way – it’s simply not worth the risk! In sport or dangerous activities, protecting our heads from injury is vital.” Will’s family have farmed in Cumbria’s Eden Valley for centuries. Their organic farm includes dairy, beef and sheep enterprises, alongside conservation and tourism.

Stephanie Berkeley, Manager of the Farm Safety Foundation, home of Yellow Wellies, said:

“While our farmers are among the best in the world, farming continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK. The Farm Safety Foundation was established to help young farmers challenge and change their attitudes to risk-taking and improve their physical and mental well-being. We are delighted that Honda is helping to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a helmet when operating ATVs.”

Luke Griggs, Director of Communications at Headway, explained:

“Brain injury can impact every area of a person’s life, often stripping away an individual’s independence and basic life skills they once took for granted, impacting everything from walking and talking, to thinking and feeling. It can also devastate the lives of family members and loved ones who may suddenly find themselves as carers or feel powerless to help.

“Research has proved the effectiveness of helmets in protecting the skull and brain from impact, particularly when striking hard surfaces such as rocks. We all think ‘it will never happen to me’, but the reality is an accident can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of the experience or ability of the rider. It is therefore vital that people take heed of the warnings and protect themselves. We urge ATV riders to use their heads and use a helmet.”

Andrew Parr, Sales Operations Department Manager at Honda Motor Europe Ltd, concluded:

“It’s a privilege to work with Yellow Wellies, Headway and our celebrity designers to raise the profile of such an important issue. As the UK’s leading manufacturer of ATVs, we take our commitment to safe and responsible riding incredibly seriously.

“We offer free EASI® training on all purchases of ATV and Pioneer utility vehicles as standard. The EASI courses aim to improve operator skills, safety levels and awareness of the capabilities of Honda’s ATV and Pioneer products. We highly recommend all ATV users take advantage of the training on offer, wear the correct safety equipment, and ensure their vehicles are regularly maintained.”

Enthused farmers and fans who want to get their hands on these unique helmets can join the auction here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/headwaycharity. For more information about the campaign, visit https://www.hondaengineroom.co.uk/power/headstart-atv-safety/. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news on Honda’s power products, visit http://www.honda.co.uk/ATV or follow @HondaUKPower on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation launches new Mental Health Fund

Not-for-profit, charity-owned cloud platform The Good Exchange has today announced that Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation is launching a new dedicated fund in support of local mental health initiatives for children and young people through the platform.

The Foundation’s new Bedfordshire Mental Health Fund for Young People officially opens today and will run for one year with a dual aim of distributing grants between £1,000 and £5,000 to local charitable organisations and growing the fund through collaboration with funders, local businesses and individuals who want to work together and give money to support this worthwhile cause.

According to analysis by the University of Bedfordshire (commissioned by the Foundation), there are an estimated 660 boys and 360 girls aged 5-10 years and 815 boys and 550 girls between the ages of 11-15 with a mental health problem in Bedford Borough. In addition, it has been estimated that one in 10 young people in Luton are likely to have a diagnosable mental health condition (LBC 2015).

Organisations from Bedford and Central Bedfordshire involved in delivering mental health education, promotion and development, including therapy and counselling sessions, are encouraged to submit their applications for funding via the Foundation’s Funder Page on The Good Exchange platform.

Dipak Mistry, Grants Manager, Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation commented:

“We’re fully committed to supporting mental health solutions in our local area. Through our new Mental Health Fund for Young People, we hope to be able to support a range of different initiatives, but we really need other grant-giving organisations and individuals throughout the county to join with us to support this hugely worthwhile cause.

All local groups who’d benefit from financial support – covering the costs of providing treatments and therapy sessions to general day-to-day overheads and equipment costs should apply via The Good Exchange. We’ve been very impressed by the platform’s single online application form, which significantly streamlines the grant-application process for all concerned.”

Ed Gairdner, COO of The Good Exchange added:

“We’re looking forward to working with the Foundation to build a collaborative network of funders to address the complex needs of children and young people with mental health challenges across Bedfordshire through the new Fund for young people.”

Gairdner added:

“With mental health conditions particularly challenging for those in their formative years, we look forward to seeing the impact the Fund will have on local initiatives involved in tackling these complex problems at a local grassroots level.”

First 2020 Well Built Community Fund finalists are chosen

RGB Building Supplies has selected Exeter’s Ladysmith Junior School, Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society and Umberleigh-based UK Wild Otter Trust as its first Well Built Community Fund finalists for 2020. It’s now down to a public vote to see which group is chosen to receive £1,000 to spend at an RGB branch.

Ladysmith Junior School has been gifted a Plymouth City Bus, which it would like to turn into a ‘Reading Bus’ for smaller groups to enjoy lessons outside of the traditional classroom setting, as well as an area where pupils can read during breaks. The school’s site manager will be taking on the majority of the work and would use the donation to purchase the tools and materials needed to complete the renovation.

Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society has recently started renting a former football social club from East Devon District Council, which is in need of refurbishment. If voted as the Community Fund winner, the society will use the £1,000 donation towards the building renovations, as well as constructing further rooms and installing indoor bathroom facilities. Once the building is complete, the society is hoping to extend its use into a venue which can be used by the wider community.

UK Wild Otter Trust is one of only five centres in the UK that is able to help injured and orphaned otter cubs back into the wild. It is hoping to build a rehabilitation centre so it can increase the number of otter cubs it can care for to 12. If voted as the Community Fund winner, the charity will use the £1,000 towards creating a compound of five ponds of differing sizes.

Kevin Fenlon, CEO of RGB Building Supplies, commented:

“Our Well Built Community Fund continues to prove extremely popular and once again we were inundated with nominations from schools, community groups, projects and charities from the region. Congratulations to Ladysmith Junior School, Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society and UK Wild Otter Trust for being chosen as finalists. We’re now encouraging people across Devon to vote.”

Votes can be cast by visiting RGB’s Exeter, Exmouth or South Molton branches during opening hours and placing a chip in the relevant box, by voting in the poll that will be at the top of RGB’s Facebook page, or by emailing RGB@pmwcom.co.uk and putting the name of the group being voted for in the subject line.

The vote will take place between Monday 20th January and 8am on Monday 3rd February. Votes cast outside these dates will not be counted. Only one vote per person via one method of voting will be counted.

The winner of the £1,000 to spend will be the group that receives the most votes.

Terms and conditions can be viewed by visiting RGB’s website – www.rgbltd.co.uk.

Sussex company supports homeless charity this Christmas

A Worthing-based estate agency chain has announced that it will be supporting local homeless charity, Turning Tides, this Christmas.

Launched via a collaborative video, Jacobs Steel is appealing on behalf of the charity for a list of items that are urgently required for the local people sleeping rough this December. The items include:

• Edible – coffee, sugar, squash, juice and biscuits
• Clothing – men’s small waist jeans
• Miscellaneous items – anti-bacterial spray, bleach, toilet cleaner, toilet rolls, tea towels, sleeping bags. Bath towels, clean and unstained single duvets and pillows

Items can be donated at any of Jacobs Steel’s six West Sussex-based offices.

Pat Barton, Managing Director of Jacobs Steel, said:

“My fellow managing director, Matt Jacobs, recently took part in Turning Tide’s sleep out fundraiser where he spent 12 hours on the streets of Worthing armed with just a sleeping bag and some cardboard. It was a true eye opener for him so we decided that this year we would host an appeal to support the charity. They do outstanding work, particularly with the young homeless across the county so we knew we had to act. Our donation stations are now open and we are hoping that we can exceed the charity’s expectations with our collections.”

The appeal video can be seen here https://1drv.ms/v/s!AnOli4G3-hFVgqcDSvuZTjCy6bV00w?e=2finf2

For more information on Jacobs Steel please visit https://www.jacobs-steel.co.uk/. For more information on Turning Tides please see https://www.turning-tides.org.uk/.

Clarke Willmott sponsors Brain Tumour Support Worker

National law firm Clarke Willmott LLP has teamed up with the charity Brain Tumour Support to sponsor a peripatetic support worker for the next 12 months.

Trish Moroney has been appointed in the role to provide support in the geographical areas where Brain Tumour Support do not yet have a dedicated support worker.

Brain Tumour Support is unique in providing dedicated support for anyone affected by any type of brain tumour, at any point from diagnosis and for as long as support is needed. That is not just for the patients themselves,
but also families, carers and loved ones who are dealing day to day with the impact of a brain tumour.

The charity provides much needed specialist, tailored services through one-to-one and group support, as well as online and telephone support and specialist counselling.

Currently support workers cover most areas from Manchester down to the tip of Cornwall. Trish’s role will mean even more people will be supported across the country.

The charity’s Head of Support, Rosemary Wormington, expressed how significant the partnership is:

“Clarke Willmott has been very supportive of our work over the past three years and we are hugely grateful to see this relationship develop to enable the funding of this crucial role.

“People frequently tell us that one of the worst parts of being diagnosed with a brain tumour is the isolation they experience as a result. So for patients and families to know that, wherever they are in the country, they can connect with a specialist support worker is vital. The difference it will make to our client group is immeasurable.”

Marguarita Tyne, Clinical Negligence Partner at Clarke Willmott, said:

“As a group with a particular interest in working with individuals with brain injuries this is a natural extension of that interest beyond our legal work.

“We very much hope that the excellent work that the charity engages in every day will be available to even more individuals and families in need of that support. We look forward to building on our working relationship with Brain Tumour Support and contributing to the practical help on offer to their clients.”

Clarke Willmott LLP is a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

The clinical negligence team at Clarke Willmott specialise in brain injury cases as well as dealing with delayed cancer diagnosis, orthopaedic mismanagement, surgical error, gynaecological injuries and mistakes arising from systemic failures.