It’s Christmas Jumpers Plus!

Christmas Jumper logo

Don’t forget to do your bit in a Christmas Knit on Friday and get taking those S’Elfies!

As well as taking part in Friday’s Christmas Jumper Day, everyone at Rowan House is being asked to do a little extra something this year.

Donation boxes have appeared in reception ready for any jumpers (Christmas or otherwise!), hats, gloves, scarves , coats, jogging bottoms, or other unwanted clothing staff may have going spare. Sleeping bags are another useful item being requested.

Donations are going to Help the Homeless and Needy who provide much-needed clothes and food (in various locations across the UK) to the growing number of people on the streets.

We’re standing by for all your S’Elfies, so watch this space…

Posted in Appearance, Charity Fundraising, Christmas, Donations in Kind, Dress Up/Down Days

Take the Flower Power Art Challenge!

Flower power art challenge logoWe have something a little different to show you today, which could provide the perfect relaxing activity for the Christmas holidays!

Greenfingers logoGreenfingers, a charity which brings gardens to children’s hospices has launched the Flower Power Art Challenge.

It aims to bring together the worlds of horticulture and art by encouraging professional and amateur artists alike to get out their easels, paints, pastels or even sewing needles and get creative.

Each entrant can have a go at producing an artwork (or more) in any 2D medium, inspired by any subject relating to flower power that they wish.

By entering you may have the chance to:

  • Exhibit your artwork at The Embassy Tea Gallery in London
  • Win cash prizes of up to £1000
  • Feature as a guest artist on the Up and Coming Art website
  • Have your work seen by thousands
  • Help to support the Greenfingers A Million Moments Appeal

Artworks shortlisted for the exhibition will be sold with 50% of the proceeds going towards the Greenfingers A Million Moments appeal and 50% going to the artist.

This appeal aims to raise £1 million to help 5,000 children in the hospice system to have access to gardens and outdoor spaces which will give them a break from the rigours of their daily care.

Interested? There are more details about the Challenge here and note that the closing date for your entries is 31st January 2016.

Posted in Charity Focus, Charity Fundraising, Event Focus, Getting Crafty, Unusual Ideas

Jo Smashes Her Target

Jo Cooke final update image002In her final post for 2015, FSSC‘s Jo Cooke has plenty of good news about her half marathon challenge…

“WOW… what a year!!  The final one has been completed!!  I can’t quite believe that it’s over and I’ve done it… number 10 is in the bag!!

Although it didn’t go quite to plan… I, along with 30 other runners from my club, were supposed to be heading up to Lancaster on Sunday 6th December but Desmond put a stop to that plan!!

On Saturday afternoon, the organisers had to postpone the event due to the weather.  Pretty much of the route, in fact most of the area was and still is flooded. So my running club came to the rescue and within a few hours we’d cancelled the fun bus and organised a local half marathon route with a few water and sweetie stations.

Jo Cooke finishIt meant all was not lost and with thanks to the tremendous support of the club I managed to complete the challenge… and on the day when it meant so much.

It was a much hillier route than Lancaster and there was a lot more banter than usual at the normal race events. It was great fun and it turned into a really special event. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to complete this challenge.

My time… well who cares about that, at this stage finishing the challenge was the aim!!  They even got me a medal and t-shirt, which to anyone who takes part in running events knows is a major attraction!!”

Jo Cooke final update image006

Jo’s Roll of Honour 2015 – 10 out of 10:

  • Jan 18th – Inskip – 1:58:17
  • Feb 15th  – Liversedge – 2:04:08
  • Mar 29th  – Liverpool – 1:58:44
  • Apr 26th – Blackpool – 1:56:59
  • Jun 14th  – Liverpool Rock n Roll – 1:56:13
  • Jul 19th – Lytham Windmill – 1:58:51
  • Aug 9th – Isle of Man – 1:59:17
  • Sep 13th – The Great North Run – 2:23:46
  • Oct 25th  – Worksop – 2:04:46
  • Dec 6th  – The Lions Halifax Half – 2:18:49

“As ever, a big thanks to all of those that have donated so far. With your generosity and support I’m at a whopping £2,430.20. Considering my original target was £1,000 and then I wanted to get to £1,500, you’ve exceeded all of my expectations!!

My JustGiving page is still open for donations…  for anyone who still wishes to donate online.”

Fantastic news Jo, well done. It’s wonderful to see how your clubmates and friends rallied round to make sure you completed your challenge 🙂

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Running, Sport

Do your bit in a Christmas knit!

Christmas Jumper DayIt’s time to dig out the festive jumpers, our popular Christmas Jumper Day is back.

Love them or hate them, Friday 18 December sees the nation unite in a woolly embrace for Christmas Jumper Day 2015.

If you’re not already in the festive spirit, here’s your chance, We’re asking you to pay £1 to wear your favourite Christmas knit and help us raise as much as possible.

This year the Christmas Jumper crew has joined forces with ITV Text Santa and two other amazing charities – Macmillan Cancer Support and Make a Wish UK.

AND…send us a S’Elfie and you could win a Christmas hamper!*

Here’s how:

  1. Pay £1 at your location to wear a Christmas jumper
  2. Take a Christmas S’Elfie
  3. And send us your picture – stating your name, location and contact number.
  4. All entries must be received by 23:59pm on Friday 18 December.

The most festive S’Elfie wins a Christmas hamper

If you’re not into photos, you can simply sign up at and get a FREE fundraising kit, with lots of creative ideas to help raise even more money for these great charities.

We’re standing by for your S’Elfies and fundraising news!

Posted in Appearance, Charity Fundraising, Christmas, Dress Up/Down Days

“Tesco were thrilled with our donation”

Stockport Christmas ShoeboxesWendy Ross has news of Stockport‘s latest activities for a good cause…

“About 7 weeks ago we decided here at Stockport to support the homeless in Stockport and Manchester town centres by doing our own shoebox appeal.

People came together throughout all our group with generous donations, then myself and my colleagues Gemma and Jo turned our conference room into Santa’s grotto. We managed to fill 16 full boxes containing food items, toiletries, warm clothing and gifts.

I took great pleasure in taking these to Tesco today [2nd December – Ed] for them to distribute to the local homeless drop-off points on behalf of Smiths News Stockport.

Tesco were thrilled with our donation.”

They look fantastic Wendy!

Posted in Donations in Kind

Introducing The Food Chain

The Food Chain logoTuesday was World Aids Day and to help mark the occasion, Rowan House‘s Tom Wright introduces us to the work of The Food Chain.

“I am a trustee of a charity called The Food Chain. They provide social, economic and nutrition support to high-need people with HIV. “High-need” being people with significant mental, social or economic problems – or all 3 – in addition to HIV.”

The Food Chain deliver meals and groceries, offers cookery and nutrition classes and communal eating opportunities to people living with HIV in London and their dependants.

People living with HIV often struggle to access the food they need to stay well, because of:

  • ill-health
  • poverty
  • isolation and a lack of motivation to eat well, or
  • limited skills or knowledge.

Each person helped by the charity is referred by a health or social care professional who has identified them in need of nutritional support. They receive a nutrition care plan designed specifically to meet their needs, which in turn helps them to lead healthy, independent lives.

Tom adds:

“The Food Chain is primarily a distributor, as are most businesses in Connect Group and so I’m using the skills from my day-job to support the charity. Further information of the charity can be found here. To help bring it to life, I recommend reading Eduardo’s story.”

Editor’s Note: The Food Chain has also partnered  with The Food Cycle to bring another of its services, a weekly communal meal held in King’s Cross for people living with HIV and their families. The meals are created using surplus food – a fantastic way of utilising something which otherwise would go to waste.

Posted in Community Volunteering, Volunteer Case Studies

Today is #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday UK logoAfter the sales – and indulgence – of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today’s #Giving Tuesday is designed as an antidote to all of that and provides an opportunity to give something back.

The simple idea behind #GivingTuesday is to encourage people, charities and businesses to donate time, money or their voice to help a good cause.

#GivingTuesday has grown into a global movement, covering countries like The United States, Australia, Singapore, Canada, much of Latin America and Israel. The UK version of the campaign was launched by the Charities Aid Foundation last year.

We challenge you to give something today!

Whether it’s making a donation to your favourite charity, volunteering your time at work or simply helping to spread the feeling of giving at the start of the Christmas season, make sure you’re a part of it today.

You can choose to donate as little or as much as you wish through our workplace giving schemes – Give as You Earn or Pennies from Heaven.  Contact Laura Smith to find out more.

Alternatively, you may wish to hold a specific collection to raise funds for your chosen charity, or have a fundraising event. This blog is a source of plenty of ideas!

#GivingTuesday isn’t just about fundraising, so you may wish to consider Volunteer Time, DASH, NewstrAid or Stickability for your gift of time to a good cause.

The gift of kindness

A recent survey showed we’re more likely to perform an act of kindness – and to do it more than once – when we’ve been treated kindly ourselves. It doesn’t have to be complicated either and could include:

  • Helping a colleague out
  • Giving someone a lift home from work
  • Giving an elderly relation a call
  • Giving blood

Keep in touch

To find out more, go to the Giving Tuesday website. If you’re on Twitter, then you can follow the campaign via @givingtuesdayuk or the #GivingTuesday hashtag. You can also keep in touch via Facebook or Instagram.

If you’re inspired by #GivingTuesday, then we’d love to hear about what you’ve done or decided to do!

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Colleague Involvement, Community Volunteering

Dress Down and Brownies Bring in the ££

Brownies Collage

Louise Blake brings us further news from Children in Need 2015, with pictures of some very tempting baked goods…

“On Thursday and Friday last week Reading Customer Service team held a dress down day and bake sale (made with the kitchen aid I won from the PMP birthday competition 😉 ) to raise money for Children in Need.

The pictures are of the brownies I made; they were salted caramel and milk chocolate and caramel and white chocolate.

In total we raised £46.45!”

That brings our Children in Need totaliser up to £180.31 for 2015 – Ed 🙂

Posted in Appearance, Cakes, Charity Fundraising, Children in Need, Food and Drink

Pudsey’s Superheroes Make Their Appearance

Children In Need

Dressing up for Pudsey: Angie Westley, Josh McDowell, Sue Onions, Helen Reid, Beth Baka, Tracey Jones, Lynn Steadman and Katie Cubbin

West Mercia Supplies added dressing up to their cakes in support of Friday’s Children in Need.

They also made sure Pudsey Bear was well represented amongst their film, comic and story book heroes!

They raised a total of £87.86, which makes our Children in Need totaliser stand at £133.86 for 2015 🙂

Superhero Liam

Home-made super hero Liam sampling the cake!

Posted in Appearance, Cakes, Charity Fundraising, Dress Up/Down Days, Food and Drink

Borehamwood’s Food Day

Borehamwood Children In Need 2015 Collage

Once again Borehamwood are quick off the mark to reveal their scrummy results for Friday’s Children in Need.

Both sweet and savoury palates were catered for on their Food Day, with lots of tempting treats on offer at £1.50 a plate [a bargain! – Ed]

They raised £46 to help this year’s record-breaking event 🙂

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Children in Need, Food and Drink