As a successful business who are proud to support our local community, we are always being asked to support local schools, clubs, associations and charities, which we are more than happy to do. However, we found ourselves helping so many and offering a choice of various collection tins to our customers, we thought wouldn’t it be great to focus on just one charity a year and make a real difference to that one charity rather than 4 or 5.
Julia’s House – https://www.juliashouse.org
We chose our first charity, Julia’s House, in 2016. Based in Poole, Julia’s House is not a typical children’s hospice. They provide practical and emotional support for families caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, providing frequent and regular support, in their own homes, in the community or at their hospices.
We had some fun creating a very different campaign for Valentines for their benefit. The Pont des Arts in Paris, the most romantic city in the world, is known as The Love Lock Bridge. Loved-up couples are encouraged to write their names on a padlock, affix them to the bridge and throw the key in the River Seine to symbolise their unbreakable affection. So we created our own replica Love Lock Bridge outside the shop. Customers were encouraged to come into the shop, ‘buy’ a padlock for a donation to Julia’s House, write their names on it, lock it on to the bridge and post the key into the Love Lock Letter Box inside the shop which was then entered into a competition to win a half carat loose diamond worth £1,200. We raised an amazing £957 from this campaign alone in addition to the collections throughout the year in-store.
Amelia’s Rainbow – https://ameliasrainbow.com
In 2017, we invited our customers to suggest who they felt we should support and the charity with the most votes was The Amelia-Grace Rainbow Fund Charity. Amelia’s Rainbow supports children in Dorset and the surrounding area who are suffering from any terminal, life-limiting, serious and chronic illnesses. Their aim is to create an environment full of fun, laughter, achievement and memories and was set up in memory of Amelia-Grace Cooper who passed away after battling a particularly aggressive form of childhood cancer. Amelia’s Rainbow Charity was set up in memory of Amelia-Grace who died in 2010 from an aggressive childhood cancer. The idea for the Charity started with Amelia when she used some of her money to buy an Xbox for one of her friends with whom she spent time in hospital. The fund supports children in Dorset and the surrounding area who are suffering from terminal, life-limiting and serious chronic illness by creating an environment that is full of fun, laughter, achievement and memories.
Our biggest fundraiser for this incredible charity was another Valentine’s idea – this time visitors to the shop were invited to ‘Lay a Brick for Love’, where they could donate £1 and lay a red Lego® brick onto a love board in the shape of heart. We raised an astonishing £557 which meant so much to this small charity.
The Dorset Children’s Foundation – https://thedcf.org
With an overwhelming number of votes, The Dorset Children’s Foundation were voted as our Charity of the Year for 2018. DCF is an independent local charity dedicated to improving the lives of sick and disabled children living within our community. They aim to provide children and their families with a wide range of support including accessible activities, Parent friendship groups and mental health counselling.
In addition to a Valentine’s competition where visitors to the store could write a message to their loved one on a heart and tie it outside the shop for all to see whilst making a donation to the charity, we introduced our Dine with Diamonds event which has now become a popular annual event.
The event, held at Broadstone Golf Club, saw guests enjoying a buffet meal and finding out all about diamonds from expert & jewellery consultant, Helen Dimmick. In addition, guests were able to handle some exquisite and valuable diamond jewellery. The money was raised through a large raffle of prizes donated by generous suppliers with the top prize of a diamond pendant worth £1,000.
8-year-old Fern Harrison from Broadstone has the rare Alexander disease, which affects her ability to walk and swallow, and she cannot lift her head. She is being is being supported by DCF and we raised an astounding £1556.40 from this event which was used towards buying Fern a Mollii suit, which is an electrical stimulation suit for the rehabilitation of spasticity which will make her movement easier and help her sleep.
Forest Holme Hospice – https://forestholmehospice.org.uk
We received a record number of suggestions and votes in 2019 and the outright winner was Forest Holme Hospice. Forest Holme provide palliative and end of life care to over 1,000 local people each year across Poole, Wimborne and the Purbecks. They don’t just look after people with cancer; their expertise extends to other life-limiting illnesses such as Motor Neurone Disease, other neurological conditions, heart failure, renal failure and respiratory illness.
Our fundraising activities included a Wear it Yellow day, a Guess the Time competition at Broadstone Fun Day where people had to guess at what time the watch would drop from a block of ice! As well as our now traditional Dine with Diamonds event in October, we also introduced a new event with one of our favourite designers. Our Pearls and Prosecco evening at Broadstone Golf Club saw Claudia Bradby talk about this most precious of stones and our generous guests bought raffle tickets totalling £330. The highlight of the year was when our very own Deanna braved a wing walk to raise the magnificent sum of £2,270. Deanna’s grandad & family had been supported by Forest Holme so it held a very special place in her heart. Her achievement brought our total for the year to a phenomenal £5522!
Spring – supporting Parents and Relatives through baby loss – https://www.springsupport.org.uk/
We changed the selection process slightly in 2020 after being overwhelmed by suggestions in 2019! We asked our fabulous team to suggest their favourite charities and then invited our loyal Facebook followers to vote. The winner was Spring charity who work closely with medical professionals, and others who come into contact with parents and relatives whose babies die. By sharing their experience, they help ensure bereaved parents are treated sensitively and with genuine care.
Obviously, our fundraising activities for Spring have been put on hold whilst we are closed but we will make up for it once everything gets back to normal.
As with any small charity, all of these organisations doing extremely valuable work in our community depend on donations for their survival and we would encourage you to think about them during this current crisis when their own fundraising activities will have been cancelled. Please visit their individual websites to see how you could help.