How Simplyhealth is helping people to make the most of life through charitable giving

Posted on October 7, 2015 by Mark Hamson, chairman of Simplyhealth's Charitable Committee

We donated £1,400,000 last yearEarlier this year we announced we are focussing our direction as a business on helping people to manage their everyday health needs such as back pain, tooth ache and mobility problems. We have always reinvested our profits to support our customers and charities but we are now honing in on working with charitable causes that help people to manage a range health conditions on a daily basis, and to understand the difference we have made to people's lives.

Being a profitable and responsible organisation is possible and businesses have the opportunity to play a part in society and help support charitable causes that identify with their reason for being. For us this centres around healthcare and with a strain on resources and increasing demand we are committed to supporting health related causes. In 2014, we gave £1.4 million to 22 charities (view the infographic here) touching the lives of over two million people and have donated £852,787 to 20 charities so far this year.

We want to make a difference to the lives of those our partner charities support and to understand how our donation is making a difference. Helping people to make the most of life isn't just measured in statistics - it's also about the smaller things that are particularly personal, such as putting a smile on the face of a child when an entertainer from POD Children's Charity appears on a hospital ward, or when someone suffering from dementia remembers the lyrics to a song during a performance organised by Music in Hospitals.

Working with charitable causes enables us to extend our reach to help people with their everyday health needs. We plan to develop these partnerships and support the charitable causes not only financially but by sharing knowledge and skills, particularly in IT, finance and public relations, which are areas where we know some charities are looking for support. For example, last year a team from our Leeds Customer Services department helped Macmillan by phoning race goers for the Leeds 10K run to ensure they had received their registration packs and they had all they needed for race day.

Here's what Sarah Day, Head of Fundraising at Macular Society, had to say about how our donation helped them:

"We received £50,000 in 2014 from Simplyhealth as part of a five year project to roll out our Daily Living Champion service throughout the UK.

"The donation has helped support expansion of the service which sees Daily Living Champions, most of whom have macular conditions themselves, attend a two-day training course and receive a low vision kit of over 40 items to demonstrate at Macular Society Groups and exhibitions how they can solve everyday problems people with a macular condition face.

"Since the project launched at the beginning of this year, 96% of people who attended a demonstration say they now have a better understanding of how the equipment can help them, 95% know more about low vision services and 96% were inspired to look for other items that can help them.

"So far, 11 volunteers have taken up the role of Daily Living Champions and the project is having a positive impact on them too with 88% reporting an improvement in their confidence and 78% saying they now have greater involvement in their community.

"The Macular Society aims to train at least 10 volunteers at each of the five remaining training courses this year.

"We would like to thank the Simplyhealth Charitable Committee and all their staff for their wonderful grant. Without this generous support we would not have been able to launch this project, which will train and equip 300 volunteers over five years, helping at least 6,000 people by providing badly needed advice and information on the aids that could make their lives so much better."

Take a look at our infographic - Making a Difference - Charitable Giving at Simplyhealth - to see the impact our giving made in 2014