Spreading Christmas cheer across our communities

Posted on December 8, 2015 by Lisa Hammerton

Christmas can be a really exciting time of year, with festive cheer, mince pies and sharing gifts. But unfortunately, this isn't the case for everyone.

Each of our office locations has a community fund which supports local charities, community groups, projects and initiatives. The community funds meet once a month to discuss applications, but are also proactive in their own fundraising. 

Here's a few ways that we have been helping out in our communities this Christmas to put smiles on many children's' faces: 

Andover - Christmas shoeboxesAndover team Christmas boxes

For the second year running, the Andover Community Fund supported Andover Foodbank with its Christmas Shoebox Project. The scheme is very simple: key workers at local agencies and schools identify children for whom a gift box will make a real difference and request a box for a boy or girl of a certain age from the foodbank.

Employees from the three Andover offices were incredibly generous by bringing in empty shoeboxes, donating items ready to be sorted, and some even made their own boxes. The Andover community fund donated £300 to help purchase gifts for the shoeboxes. The team split themselves into pairs and went to town (literally) buying gifts for their age group, ready to fill the shoeboxes. 

Last year, Simplyhealth donated 74 boxes as part of the Shoebox appeal and this year we are delighted that they exceeded their target and made an amazing 101 boxes (one came in at the last minute)! 

Leeds - Mission Christmas

Simplyhealth Leeds - Christmas boxesOur Leeds Community Fund has supported Cash for Kids over many years because of the incredible way it helps to so many people in the community. This year, we donated a grant to Radio Aire's Cash for Kids Mission Christmas campaign. The donation means that almost 1,600 children across Leeds and West Yorkshire will receive a gift on Christmas morning.

It will help children at organisations such as the Neo Natal unit at LGI, Pontefract General Infirmary and Martin House Hospice. Lisa Williams recently visited Martin House to donate dozens of wonderful gifts, of which they were very grateful!

Lisa Sullivan Charity Manager says, "We are so grateful to Simplyhealth for their continued support, Christmas is such a special time of the year and their help means we can spread the magic of Christmas across many more children's lives across West Yorkshire. We couldn't do this campaign without the generosity of companies like Simplyhealth and we would ask people to get involved and buy an extra gift this year or do some fundraising to even more children that desperately need our help. Together we can make a difference and help make a child smile this Christmas."

Manchester - Christmas list project

Simplyhealth Manchester - Christmas boxesIn Manchester, the community fund wanted to help make children and families that are going through tough times, by donating gifts to vulnerable children in local domestic violence units, homeless shelters, hostels and women and baby units.

The community fund allocated £15 for each member of staff in the Manchester office to choose a gift for a child aged 0-8 years or 9-17 years from www.argos.co.uk. All of the catalogue numbers were then collated and the gifts were purchased ready to be gift wrapped.

In total, staff in the Manchester office donated £1,500 worth of gifts varying from board games to soft toys. 

And to top it off, all of our offices will be taking part in Festive Friday on 11 December for The Children's Trust which involves wearing something festive for a small donation. The Simplyhealth Charitable Committee donated £24,350 earlier this year to fund a health play specialist. You can read more about our donation here.

It's incredibly sad to think that some children within our communities will wake up on Christmas morning without a single present to open. That's we're pleased to be able to make a small contribution through our charitable giving, to put smiles on so many faces and to share some festive cheer this Christmas.