Businesses discover power of love at Christmas to support charities
An animated film with the feel of a John Lewis Christmas advert is one of the imaginative ways that North West businesses are supporting charitable causes this Christmas.
A short film, will you #BeeThere for someone this Christmas?, which was viewed by more than 1,000 people on the first day of launch, was created by Manchester’s Doodledo for local charity Caritas Salford – a charity supporting people across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
The animation depicts a bee who is sleeping rough in the city and his experiences as he reaches out for support. It is part of the charity’s Advent appeal, which is encouraging people to make a donation to help them to work alongside those facing acute crisis in the area over the festive season.
It shows off what the Manchester-based agency can do, but for James Torry, founder of Doodledo, the drive to throw show much time and effort at the project came from the staff. “We were honoured to support Caritas with their Christmas film. Our whole team visited their facilities and got a feel for the amazing work they’re doing and the difference they’re making to people with acute needs. So it became really important to us to make sure we communicated that well.”
Financial advisor firm Sedulo is also targeting “deeper levels of community work” according to founder Paul Cheetham-Karcz who said his team delivered more than 26,000 pieces of school equipment to children who didn’t have the means to afford it – allowing them to complete homework and access basic utilities – this, alongside handing out £25,000 of hot meal vouchers for young people this year.
They’ve also built a playground for a school on a condemned site and they’re launching a period poverty campaign next year aimed at teenage girls who can’t afford the products they need during the menstrual cycle.
He said this is all about “embracing and supporting the communities Sedulo works in across Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and London”.
Meanwhile, over on Merseyside, property restoration specialist The Forshaw Group has organised a collection for the local food bank. She set up collection in the office and the team donated food and money. A van from Forshaw was then loaded up and taken to Knowsley Food Bank.
Liam Hanlon the managing director of Forshaw said: “I’m proud of the team and everyone’s enthusiasm to help others at Christmas. Everyone who has helped them have worked hard sourcing the items and ensuring they were delivered to the right places. It is great to see so much support for our local community.”
From the charity side, the relationships with businesses aren’t just about cake sales and collection tins. According to Patrick O’Dowd, chief executive of the Caritas charity that commissioned the animation film, skills can be beneficial to a charity.
“Businesses locally can support us in lots of ways. Some choose to make a financial or product donation or match-fund projects or fundraising by staff. Others choose to support us by giving time, or holding team days at one of our centres helping our staff and volunteers. Professionals might decide to use their skills to benefit us in some other way – giving professional advice, providing goods or services, or offering to mentor some of the individuals locally we work alongside. Much of the work businesses do with us is also a great way to develop teams or members of their staff, perhaps giving them project management skills, developing their confidence or simply enabling them to take part in something that is making a real difference to people’s lives. Not only do our charity and local people benefit, but the businesses benefit too.
“Whatever reason and whatever way businesses choose to support us, we’re extremely grateful, especially in the current climate. It really does help us enormously and means we can continue our work alongside people experiencing homelessness, poverty, disadvantage and isolation at a time they need it most.”
He said Kellogg’s have supported the charity he runs with regular corporate volunteering team days, including recently at the Cornerstone day centre in Moss Side. “This support is invaluable in terms of supporting our team of staff and volunteers in their work alongside people experiencing homelessness, disadvantage, isolation and poverty locally.”
The charity runs a range of services supporting people from local communities who are isolated, disadvantaged or experiencing poverty and homelessness.
To view the film or make a donation to the #BeeThere appeal, visit www.caritassalford.org.uk/BeeThere