Children’s Hospice South West targets £30,000 fundraising event to mark its 30th anniversary
Despite lockdown restrictions easing, the pandemic continues to have an impact on the charity sector, which is enduring much financial difficulty.
Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW), which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is organising a series of virtual and community fundraising events to raise funds to safeguard CHSW’s hospices now and into the future. CHSW offers vital respite, end of life care and bereavement support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families at its three hospices; Charlton Farm in Bristol, Little Bridge House in Devon and Little Harbour in Cornwall.
The charity needs around £11m a year to run its three hospices and around 85 per cent is raised through voluntary donations. As a result of the pandemic, the charity has had to cancel or postpone many of its fundraising events. The pandemic has not only affected the charity’s ability to raise funds but it has also had a significant impact on its care model which now incorporates virtual support and home visits.
But the charity has not rested on its laurels. Staff have constantly looked for innovative ways to raise money to keep the hospices running. Over the last twelve months, two notable successes have been the forging of new partnerships with local businesses through the CHSW Business Club and the move to virtual fundraising events.
“Memories by Moonlight” was one virtual event which was created after restrictions meant a physical memory walk was simply not possible, and after its success will be
happening again this autumn. Historically the event was an opportunity for hundreds of people to walk together in memory of their loved ones while raising funds for CHSW in their memory. Although reflective, Moonlight Memory Walks were always uplifting and a true celebration of lives remembered.
In 2020 CHSW supporters were given various ways they could remember a loved one; by walking, making a donation in their memory and leaving online tributes, all were invited to watch a memory ceremony streamed live.
Kiley Pearce, Events Fundraiser for CHSW said “Last year we knew we couldn’t just cancel the event completely. It is known by so many of our supporters and families who we felt needed that dedicated time to remember loved ones last year more than ever. We had an overwhelming response which reinforced that we had made the right decision to turn it virtual and make it accessible to people wherever they were.”
To date the virtual memory ceremony, which was the centrepiece to last year’s event, has had over 6000 views. The ceremony invited people to remember and celebrate their loved ones and provided an opportunity to make a donation in their memory. It was broadcast live on Facebook from CHSW’s Little Harbour hospice in St Austell and included readings, music, poems and a two-minute uplifting applause.
The innovative virtual offering of Memories by Moonlight resulted in donations totalling over £28,000, so this year the charity is setting a new target of £30,000 for the event. One local company which has been at the forefront, supporting the charity and also offering its own resources and experience, is National Friendly, the Bristol-based insurer.
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National Friendly‘s PR and strategic partnerships executive Kurtis Reece takes up the story. “We are pleased to have been given the opportunity to sponsor the Moonlight Memory Walk for a second year. The amount of money we were able to help raise last year was incredible and this year we want to do something even more special by helping the event raise £30,000 to mark the charity’s 30th anniversary.
National Friendly believes in passionately making an outstanding contribution to the community. Before the pandemic, every year, we encouraged our staff to get involved with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and raise funds for good causes locally. Despite our own difficulties personally and as a business we were given the opportunity to help innovate and support CHSW through this adjusting period via sponsorships.
Reflecting on the partnership with National Friendly, CHSW’s Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser Amanda Gallagher said; “This year National Friendly is kindly offering CHSW families, as well as everyone who signs up to the Moonlight Memory Walk and opts in to hearing from National Friendly, the opportunity to take advantage of its free Will writing service.
CHSW is delighted to be able to offer both physical and virtual ways to get involved in Moonlight Memory Walk on 2 October so no matter where you live there is an opportunity to remember loved ones and help raise vital funds for its hospices.
Walkers can take part in the 5 mile evening sponsored walk in Falmouth, Cornwall or can take on their own sponsored walk in their home town and be part of the special memory ceremony streamed live from Falmouth.”
However and wherever you choose to walk in memory of your loved one, sign up to the Moonlight Memory Walk at www.chsw.org.uk/moonlight and receive all the information you need to be part of this special event.