This Sunday thousands of inspiring charity heroes will hit the highways and byways of London to play their part in the largest fundraising event on earth – the Virgin London Marathon. Here we pay homage to just a few of those fantastic folk who are prepared to brave the blood, sweat, tears and blisters in order to raise funds for a worthwhile cause…
All the way from Dundee a group of friends will don their national dress – the kilt – as they attempt the 26.2mile race for Action For Children Scotland. One of the team told the Dundee Courier:
“Choosing to raise money for Action for Children Scotland has really kept us motivated. The work which they do with vulnerable and neglected children is vital and they transform the lives of families and communities across the country.
We will be wearing our kilts with pride this Sunday so watch out for our tartan crossing the finishing line.”
Helen Nutter from Droitwich is running the marathon for a charity that helped her as a child after she developed a chronic blood condition. The 19 year old told the Droitwch Spa Advertiser:
“WellChild supports sick children and their families, whatever their illness, particularly by providing specialist WellChild nurses to enable children to be at home with their family rather than having lengthy stays in hospital.
Fortunately I have been fit and well since and am really pleased to be part of the WellChild team.
I am getting a bit nervous now, but training has been going well and I am really looking forward to the big day – I might even get a personal best. More importantly I hope to raise as much as possible for WellChild.”
Two weight-busting pals from Wakefield will also be joining the crowds of runners, whilst raising money for the Meningitis Trust. Sisters Annette Edwards and Donna Barras have lost an enormous 10 stone between them and were featured in an article about local runners (including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP) in the Wakefield Express.
A runner from Suffolk hopes that Sunday is the beginning of his paralympic ambitions, as well as an opportunity to raise funds for his chosen charity – Feet First Worldwide. Tom Haslam, who was born with a club foot, told the East Anglian Daily Times:
“The club foot has not stopped me, in fact I think it probably motivates me more. In May I’m going to be taking part in the Eastern Region Disabled Athletics Championships. I’d like to see if I could get classified as a paralympic runner in time for Rio in 2016.”
Super-fit Swansea couple Jeff and Sarah Partridge will be running for the Ray Gravell and Friends Charitable Trust, in spite of safety fears following the horrifying incidents during Monday’s marathon in Boston, USA. Father of two, Jeff, spoke to thisissouthwales.co.uk, “”We will think of the people of Boston as we run on Sunday as well as the thousands of good causes who continue to benefit because of these great sporting events and this is our motivation.”
And finally, a policeman from Haringey in London will take on one of the most challenging runs around wearing a weighty donkey costume in order to raise money and awareness for SPANA – the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad. Game Special Constable Nic Van Gelder told the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal:
“People think I’m crazy to be doing the marathon with a two-and-a-half-stone costume weighing down on me, but it’s nothing compared to what some working animals in developing countries are forced to carry for miles every day of their lives”.
These phenomenal fundraisers, and the many thousands that will join them on Sunday, should be applauded for the marvellous contribution they’re making to charity coffers at a time when donations are down. We wish them all a huge GOOD LUCK – they really are Backing Britain’s Charities!
This weekend sees the publication in full of the Sunday Times Giving List, which ranks the top 100 philanthropists in Britain and typically features a number of famous faces. These are people who give away a significant proportion of their wealth to charity, with the top 30 giving on average an impressive 2.62% of their wealth to charity.
A preview of the Giving List this weekend revealed that the likes of One Direction, Coldplay and Sir Elton John feature prominently, with the list also showing an increase in representation from entrepreneurs who are keen to leave their mark by supporting the causes that they care about.
Read CAF’s preview of the Giving List here, and make sure you get a chance to see the Sunday Times next week to see who the country’s top philanthropists are and to find out which high profile figures are backing Britain’s charities.
We’re delighted to announce that influential Liberal Democrat Dr Julian Huppert MP has today signed up to the Back Britain’s Charities campaign, and has blogged for website Lib Dem Voice explaining why he has taken decided to support the campaign.
In 2011 Dr Huppert was named as the most impressive member of the 2010 Parliamentary intake by Liberal Democrat members, and since being elected as the Member of Parliament for Cambridge, Dr Huppert has made a name for himself through his work as Joint Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, and through his position on the prominent Home Affairs Select Committee.
Dr Huppert told us: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Back Britain’s Charities campaign and will work in Parliament to promote the important work that charities do and raise awareness of the challenges that they face.”
In his blog, Dr Huppert warns of the danger posed by a decline in giving, and echoes calls by the campaign urging the Government to simplify Gift Aid declarations to ensure that donations to charity go further.
It’s fantastic that committed MPs such as Dr Huppert are taking the time to support the Back Britain’s Charities campaign, and that he is promoting the campaign to a wider audience through Lib Dem Voice. We are extremely grateful for Dr Huppert’s support, and look forward to working with him to improve the climate for charities.
Recently we’ve been keeping you up-to-date with the progress of the campaign and particularly when Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum have signed up to Back Britain’s Charities in order to demonstrate their support for the sector.
The eagle-eyed twitterers amongst you may have noticed that on Wednesday afternoon Twitter afficionado and renowned actor-presenter, Stephen Fry, gave a very welcome endorsement of the Back Britain’s Charities on his extremely popular Twitter feed. The tweet, which was broadcast to his 5.6 million followers read as follows -
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) April 3, 2013
As you might expect, Stephen’s tweet successfully piqued the interest of the Twittering public and consequently we had lots of extra visitors to the site and lots of additional sign-ups! If you happen to be on Twitter, you can still retweet Stephen’s message and help spread the word about Back Britain’s Charities!
On top of this support, we’re also thrilled to report that breakfast television presenter and TV personality Lorraine Kelly has also championed the campaign. Lorraine said -
“Back Britain’s Charities is a great campaign promoting the fantastic work charities do in our communities.
“It’s so important that we don’t forget these organisations, especially in tough times. Though many people won’t have the means to give more money to charity, by giving regularly we can at least help charities to budget and plan for the future.
“Charities touch our lives in so many ways, and often we don’t even realise it. It’s really important that we all stand together to Back Britain’s Charities, and protect this incredibly valuable part of our society”
It goes without saying that we pleased and proud that these public figures are prepared to speak out about the Back Britain’s Charities campaign and promote it to the public. We are equally delighted that scores of charities, businesses and ordinary individuals have also made concerted efforts to push out the message that we need to ‘Back Britain’s Charities’ in these difficult times. A great number of you have tweeted, written to your local MP, given us some publicity in your charity newsletters & community magazines, and even blogged on the website to share your story.
To you we also want to say a huge THANK YOU and urge you to continue your fantastic work!
If you have any thoughts, comments or ideas about the campaign then do feel free to get in touch at email@example.com. Similarly, if you are in a position to distribute any Back Britain’s Charities campaign literature we would love to hear from you!
Charities are doing fantastic work across the country that touches the lives of ordinary people and provides vital lifelines to many of society’s most vulnerable. Due to the economic climate, however, many of these charities are struggling financially…
We need YOU to give your support in order to highlight the plight of charities and make sure that they can continue their vital work of helping others. It’s really worrying that:
- Between 2010/11 and 2012/13 the total amount donated by people to charity fell by 20%
- Last year the number of people using Gift Aid declined for the first time since it was introduced
- A survey showed that 40% of charity sector workers are worried that their charity may have to close
- More than a quarter of charities have already cut frontline services
- This year Britain dropped three places (down to 8th) in the annual World Giving Index
Mentions across the national media…
Over 700 charities and organisations signed up to support…
With over 20 Parliamentary supporters from all parties, Back Britain’s Charities is a campaign that even our politicians can agree on!
“The Back Britain’s Charities campaign has been set up to ensure that charities can continue to survive in these difficult times, a goal that I think we can all support” – Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society
“It is getting harder and harder to support my local charity, Carers Lewisham. I am a carer with a disabled son and now I’m a trustee of Carers Lewisham. They saved my life with their support and backing and I now want to give something back. Lets hope this campaign can grow and grow. We need charities, they do so much and support so many people in so many different ways. Good luck”– Jacqui Cook (Mum of disabled son, Joe), Carers Lewisham
“Carphone Warehouse backs Britain’s Charities and urges the business community and general public to do the same. It’s so important charities aren’t forgotten in these tough economic times. Many vital services are suffering from a reduction in government funding and fall in donations, at the same time as facing an increasing demand for their services. We have to stand together to protect these cornerstones of our communities. Through our corporate responsibility programme we donate, and our people raise, hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for charity and we are fully committed to supporting a vibrant and varied civil society” – Carphone Warehouse
After being made aware of the campaign by a local charity supporting the campaign – Sandy Helping Hands – Mr Burt, who in his Ministerial role is tasked with dealing with the Middle East and North Africa, decided to act.
Mr Burt, who represents the Parliamentary constituency of North East Bedfordshire, has written for local website www.aboutmyarea/Bedfordshire to explain why he believes the campaign is positive for Britain’s charities.
Arguing that “Back Britain’s Charities is something we should all get behind in some way,” he raised the importance of giving tools such as Gift Aid and Payroll Giving, which can help people’s donations to charity go further.
He went on to explain that it is crucial that charities “should not be ignored or left to deplete due to lack of support from users and supporters,” a message that the campaign fully endorses.
It is extremely pleasing that the campaign is being supported by top Parliamentarians and members of the Government, and we look forward to continuing taking this message to politicians of all parties in the coming months and ensuring that they too are Backing Britain’s Charities.
Following calls from the Back Britain’s Charities campaign for the Government to reform Gift Aid, yesterday’s Budget announcement offered a positive development towards modernising the system to make it more effective for both donors and charities.
The Budget pledges that “the Government will consult on proposals to make it easier to claim Gift Aid through a wide range of digital giving channels, including options for enabling donors to complete a single Gift Aid declaration to cover all their donations through a specific channel.”
It has been estimated that reforming Gift Aid by increasing public awareness and boosting ways of giving such as Direct Debit and via social media could help charities unlock up to an extra £735 million of extra income.
In response to the Budget CAF’s Chief Executive John Low said that: “Gift Aid is vital for charities, but it simply isn’t fit for purpose in the 21st century. By bringing it up to date, charities stand to gain hundreds of millions of pounds a year. We need this fundamental reform of Gift Aid to make it work for the millions of people who support the causes we all care about.”
The Back Britain’s Charities campaign looks forward to working with the Government to help develop these proposals and ensure that reforms make donations go further so that charities across the country can continue to provide the vital services that communities rely on.
Click here for a more detailed review of what the budget means for charities from CAF’s Policy Manager Rhodri Davies, or let us know what you made of the Budget by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org