Sp Charity 2021 Jan June 1

Sanctuary staff raise over £5k for charity

By Gemma Raw

During the first six months of 2021, we have raised over £5,000 for different charities chosen by Sanctuary staff. We’re particularly proud of this, especially against the backdrop of Covid-19. It has been an incredibly tough time for charities as so many of their flagship fundraising events have either been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. Every pound raised really does matter and we’re glad to play our part in contributing to vital income streams.

Payday contributions continue to raise an average of £190 per month for chosen charities. So far this year, our staff voted to raise funds for a range of healthcare related charities, including:

  • The Oddballs Foundation – a charity committed to raising awareness of testicular cancer. With 95% of testicular cancer being curable if treated early, Oddballs focuses on encouraging men to check for signs.

  • SPACE – a small Chester-based charity that provides accessible play and support to children with additional needs.

  • Young Minds – a national charity supporting children and young people with their mental health.

  • Oxygen for India Emergency Appeal – run by the British Asian Trust, the appeal helps to fund the delivery of additional oxygen supply to India for the treatment of Covid-19.

  • MindOut – a national charity supporting the LGBTQ+ community whose services include helpline support, peer-to-peer support, advocacy, counselling, suicide prevention and community engagement.

Supporting our colleagues in health and social care, we know just how invaluable charities are in treating and supporting vulnerable people in our communities.

A very personal story

One senior member of our team, Agile Workforce Director, Vanessa Mutimer has first-hand experience of the incredible work of two very special charities; Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation and Ronald McDonald House.

At 22 weeks pregnant, Vanessa and her husband received the news that Charlotte, their unborn daughter, had a congenital heart defect – the aorta and pulmonary veins in her heart had grown the wrong way round. Charlotte would need to be born at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London and kept in intensive care until surgery. A switch could be performed by the incredible surgeons between the age of 7 and 14 days. At just 8 days old, Charlotte underwent a transposition of the great arteries (TGA) surgery at Evelina Children’s Hospital at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

It was an incredibly difficult time recalls Vanessa:

“We were obviously devastated when we found out the news, but we were put in touch with the team at Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation. They were amazing. They provided an antenatal information session and tour of the hospital to help us plan for what was to come. I can’t tell you how reassuring this was, even though it was still scary.

“For the birth, our older daughter who was just two at the time, had to stay at her nanna’s house as we made the 90-mile trip to London. We knew we would have to be in London for a minimum of 2-3 weeks and did not have anywhere to stay. Luckily, my husband was able to get a room for us at Ronald McDonald House.

“You may not realise, I know I didn’t, but the Ronald McDonald Charity has houses at all the major children’s hospitals in the country with the aim of keeping families together during hospital treatment. I cannot thank them enough – our 2-year-old was also able to come and stay with us. It became a home from home for us as we spent most of December in London.”

Thankfully, Charlotte’s operation went well, and she is now a thriving toddler who loves nothing more than getting up to mischief on the family farm. However, Vanessa, will never forget those days and the fantastic support her family received. In true Vanessa style, she wanted to find a way of ‘giving back’. She had been growing her hair since 2015 and so continued to keep doing so with a view to donating approximately 16 inches to the Little Princess Trust. At the same time, she asked for donations from colleagues, family and friends for her efforts.

Vanessa raised an incredible £1900, which she split between Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Running for mental health

Keeping with the theme of supporting charities with a personal connection, Sanctuary’s Head of Permanent Social Work, Stefan Garrett raised £2,455 for Suffolk Mind last month. Stefan, who is not shy of a fitness challenge, managed 30 runs (150km and 20 gym sessions), one for every day in June. His motivations were simple. He said:

“Suffolk Mind is important to me because I, along with friends and family members have suffered with mental health issues. Having finished what I set out to do, I can honestly say that I’m incredibly grateful to every sponsor. I’m also in the best physical shape that I’ve been in the last eight years!”

Stefan was sponsored by Sanctuary colleagues and one of the payday contributions went towards this cause.

We're looking forward to supporting more charities in the final six months of 2021.