Businesses discover power of love at Christmas to support charities
An animated film with the flair of a John Lewis Christmas ad is one of the imaginative ways Northwest businesses are supporting charities this Christmas.
Viewed by more than 1,000 people on day one of launch, the short film ‘Want to be #BeeThere for someone this Christmas’ was created by Manchester’s Doodledo for local charity Caritas Salford – a charity helping the people of Greater Manchester and Lancashire supported.
The animation shows a bee restlessly sleeping in the city and its experiences while reaching out for support. It is part of the charity’s Advent appeal, which encourages people to make a donation to help them work with those affected by acute crises in the region during the holiday season.
It shows what the Manchester-based agency can do, but for James Torry, Doodledo’s founder, the drive to put a lot of time and effort into the project came from the staff. “We feel honored to support Caritas with their Christmas film. Our entire team visited their facilities and got a feel for the amazing work they do and the difference they make for people with acute needs. So it was very important for us to make sure we communicate that well.”
Financial consulting firm Sedulo is also targeting “deeper levels of community work,” according to founder Paul Cheetham-Karcz, who said his team shipped more than 26,000 school supplies to kids who couldn’t afford them – so they could finish homework and have access to Basic services – this along with the distribution of £25,000 in hot meal vouchers to young people this year.
They’ve also built a playground for a school on a ruined site and are launching a period poverty campaign next year, targeting teenage girls who can’t afford the products they need during their menstrual cycle.
He said it’s about “embracing and supporting the communities where Sedulo works in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and London”.
In the meantime, over in Merseyside, restoration specialists The Forshaw Group have organized a collection for the local charity. She set up a collection at the office and the team donated food and money. A Forshaw Group van was then loaded and taken to the Knowsley Food Bank.
Liam Hanlon, Managing Director of Forshaw Group said: “I’m proud of the team and everyone’s enthusiasm to help others this Christmas. Everyone who has helped them has worked hard to source the items and make sure they get delivered to the right places. It’s great to see so much support for our local community.”
On the charity side, corporate relationships aren’t just about bake sales and collecting cans. Skills can be an advantage for a charity, according to Patrick O’Dowd, executive director of the Caritas charity that commissioned the animated film.
“Local businesses can support us in many ways. Some choose to donate cash, product, or match-fund projects or employee fundraising. Others choose to support us by giving time or hosting team days at one of our centers to help our staff and volunteers. Professionals might choose to use their skills to help us in other ways – by providing professional advice, providing goods or services, or offering to mentor some of the local people we work with. Much of the work companies do with us is also a great way to develop teams or people, perhaps giving them project management skills, developing their confidence or simply allowing them to be a part of something that is really making a difference in people’s lives. This not only benefits our charity and the local people, but also the companies.
“Regardless of the reason and the way in which companies support us, we are very grateful, especially in the current climate. It really helps us tremendously and means we can continue our work alongside people affected by homelessness, poverty, disadvantage and isolation at a time when they need it most.”
He said Kellogg’s has supported the charity he runs with regular Corporate Volunteering Team Days, including recently at the Cornerstone Day Center in Moss Side. “This support is invaluable in supporting our team of staff and volunteers in their work with people affected by homelessness, disadvantage, isolation and poverty locally.”
The charity runs a range of services to support people from local communities who are isolated, disadvantaged or affected by poverty and homelessness.
To watch the film or donate to the #BeeThere appeal, please visit www.caritassalford.org.uk/BeeThere