The Firecracker Ball gears up for record year

With just a month to go until one of the most celebrated events on Yorkshire’s fundraising calendar, The Firecracker Ball, we thought we’d take a look at what happens to the money it raises for Barnardo’s.

Barnardo’s has been helping vulnerable children and young people since its foundation in 1866, but to do that it needs help; something the Firecracker Ball, for which is media partner, has delivered in spades over the last 15 years. To date, the annual ball, which this year takes place at Rudding Park on November 11, has raised just under £2.3m.

The 2016 ball alone raised £285,000, all of which was donated to Barnardo’s in Yorkshire, which comprises 80 specialised community projects that between them help thousands of local children every single year.

Steve Oversby, director of Barnardo’s in Yorkshire, said: “The Barnardo’s logo carries a simple statement that sums us up perfectly – we believe in children. Our projects support many of the most vulnerable young people in Yorkshire, including those growing up in poverty, those living in care, those who have been sexually abused, and the veritable army of young carers called into providing vital care for their loved ones. In order to do this we need committed supporters, like the Firecracker Ball, to keep on raising vital funds.”

Since joining forces with Barnardo’s in 2002, over 80,000 children and young people in Yorkshire have been recipients of Firecracker Ball funding, with the money raised going to a wide cross section of Barnardo’s services, including projects aimed at delivering safer childhoods, positive futures and stronger families and others helping young carers.

“The hard work and dedication of everyone who has supported the Firecracker Ball over the last 15-years, from committee members and sponsors to attendees, has been phenomenal,” added Oversby.

“We wish everyone involved in this year’s event another great evening and I truly hope that once again the people of Yorkshire will dig deep and do their bit to help the disadvantaged children of the region.”

Philip Taylor, chairman of Leeds-based property development, Oakapple Group, became involved with Barnardo’s when the Firecracker Ball committee chose the charity as beneficiary back in 2002.

His passion for the charity though goes right back to his childhood in Bramley, where he witnessed a lot of poverty in and around the schools he went to, and learnt at an early age what Barnardo’s did to help.

“The principles of Barnardo’s resonate with me given where I was born and bred,” he said. “They work with a lot of very disadvantaged young people who haven’t had a great start in life, and will always do their best to give every young person and child a real chance in life.

“I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to do okay, and firmly believe you should always put a bit back – my mother taught me that and she has always been the biggest influence in my life.”

They say behind “every good man there’s a great woman” and Taylor has several who make up the rest of the Firecracker Ball Committee. They are Kirsty Guy, senior relationship manager at Barnardo’s, Caitriona Hollis, PA to Phil Taylor, Elaine Holmes, MD at Travel Leads, Jo Clarkson, director at The Alternative Board, Leeds Central, Claire Brook, partner at Bond Dickinson, Eleanor Richardson, director at The Angels, Helen Strain, self-employed, and Martha Phillips, director at Source Marketing Communications.

Taylor and the committee are hoping this year’s Firecracker Ball – the fifteenth one supporting Barnardo’s – will prove to be yet another huge success for Barnardo’s, which last year celebrated its 150th anniversary.

This year’s event has an Alice in Wonderland theme, and the celebrations this year will feature a performance from Hot Chocolate. In addition, huge names from the world of entertainment, business, sport and beyond have united once again to donate a spectacular collection of exclusive items for eagerly anticipated auction – amongst them lots donated by James Cordon, Bruce Oldfield, Katherine Jenkins, and Status Quo.

The majority of the fundraising comes from the auction and the committee is still seeking luxury prizes.

The online auction, which is open to everyone, will be live a couple of weeks before the event and will close at 4pm on the day of The Firecracker Ball. All bids will then be transferred to the evening’s live auction. All online bidders, including those not attending the event, will have the option to enter a maximum bid.