12 charities talk about how they benefited from Shoosmiths’ silent auction

Each year, Shoosmiths launches its annual ‘Promises and Presents’ silent auction on #givingtuesday, this year supporting 12 charity partners by holding an auction of 250 donated gifts. Items up for auction included items that demonstrated the work of their charity partners, including; mental health at work training and wellbeing sessions by Northampton and District Mind, knitted hats, gloves, blankets and thermal mugs donated by homelessness charities Mustard Tree and Launchpad, books and reports about the efforts of Nottingham Women’s Centre and the Society of St. James, a refurbished computer from Jamie’s Computers programme, and a refurbished bike from Recycle Bikes project.

Each charity received £2,000 from staff fundraising efforts and a Shoosmiths firm donation, which also helped to raise awareness across the offices about the work of their local charity partners. Each of the charities reported back on how #givingtuesday makes a difference and we wanted to share their accounts here:

  • Alzheimer Scotland: “Alzheimer Scotland support people with dementia in Scotland, to make sure nobody faces dementia alone. This charity auction can really make a difference to us, for example each £96 raised will fund a day of vital support from a local Dementia Advisor and £1,138 will fund a month of our ‘Memory Bus’ which provides information to some of the most rural parts of Scotland.”
  • Ben’s Heroes Trust: “We would like to thank Shoosmiths for making Ben’s Heroes Trust one of the recipients of their silent auction. £900 supports a family of a child with cancer to access new treatments or drugs not available on the NHS, such as Proton Beam Therapy in America. We are extremely grateful to all the employees getting involved, their support will enable us to help more of our little heroes.”
  • Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice: “At Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, our mission is to ensure the best hospice care is available for all individuals, families and carers across our community, wherever and whenever they need it. A donation from Shoosmiths’ charity auction could  pay for 4 people to spend time in our Day Hospice and receive emotional, spiritual and social support which costs in the region of £1,200.”
  • Launchpad: “On average, it costs around £1,000 to help a Launchpad client move into education, training or a pathway into employment. This auction money raised will be changing someone’s path and offering them a second chance in life again.”
  • Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI: “Three people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with blood cancer every day, making it the 5th most common cancer in the UK by diagnosis and the third biggest cancer killer. This frightening statistic is a stark reminder that although research has come a long way, the outcome for many blood cancer patients remains poor. Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI operate with the main objective of improving survival rates for blood cancers by supporting the scientists and students researching these diseases in Northern Ireland. The money raised by Shoosmiths will enable us to help fund the blood cancer research group based at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell biology at Queen’s University Belfast where they are working on projects to identify, target and eliminate the abnormalities that cause blood cancer.”
  • Martin House: “The Shoosmiths Charity auction could make a real difference to our children, young people and their families that we support. £100 could pay for a member of our community team to offer practical and emotional support in a families own home over the festive period. £1,000 could pay for an in-house pantomime for our families to enjoy together. In our 30th year, we have supported over 420 children and young people, and their families plus 150 bereaved families across West, North and East Yorkshire, both at our hospice and in families’ own homes and with your continued support we will be able to help even more families over the years to come.”
  • Milton Keynes Community Foundation: “This funding will make an enormous difference to the amount of support we are able to provide to community groups. This means we will be adding this to the Shoosmiths Fund, which you hold with us to support projects that encourage community cohesion and those with disabilities or special needs.”
  • Mustard Tree: “We are truly appreciative of your support; we rely heavily on donations and fundraising to help support people experiencing poverty and homelessness. Partnering with businesses is essential to what we do and our on-going relationship is a huge part of allowing our services to continue. £500 allows us to provide counselling for 20 people on our Freedom Project, £200 means we can provide hot meals for 100 people at our weekly soup kitchen, £1000 allows us to provide a full customer services training course for 10 individuals, £5,000 allows us to run our Food Club for 6 months which provides 9,882 meals for 2470 people. Your support is so appreciated by all of us here at Mustard Tree.”
  • Northampton and District Mind: “With a £1000 donation from the charity auction  we could provide:
    • 52 Peer Support Group sessions. People with long term mental health problems often become isolated from friends, family and their communities; the Peer Support Group gives people opportunity to mutually support each other and develop friendships in a supportive environment.
    • 10 self-management courses. Northampton and District Mind runs a series of 6 week psycho-educational courses on such topics as Dealing with Anger, Look after Your Mood and Mindfulness. We also run sessions on more practical things such as budgeting and cooking.
    • 60 social inclusion activities in the evening or at weekends. People with mental health problems often do not take part in community activities and make use of community facilities as much as the general population, Northampton and District Mind runs sessions to introduce people to the facilities of their communities.
    • 53 1-2-1 support sessions. We run sessions for people who want support to change their lives, providing practical support.”
  • Nottingham Women’s Centre: “A big thank you to all at Shoosmiths for including us as a partner in your silent auction for #givingtuesday. The money raised will make such a difference to women in Nottingham. We will be using the money in the following ways: £1,000 would reprint our misogyny as a hate crime leaflets to remind women that the Police in Notts will listen to them, believe them and take action against misogynistic behaviour. £1,000 for materials for our Crafty Club – a social group for women, most of whom have mental health problems. Having something to belong to has reduced their social isolation and enabled them to make lasting relationships.”
  • ReachOut: “We are absolutely thrilled to be partnered with Shoosmiths this year and to be a beneficiary charity of your annual silent auction for #givingtuesday.  All funds raised will go directly towards providing over 850 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with one-to-one mentoring to help them improve their academic attainment, build their character and increase their confidence.  By providing this individual support we can help them to go on and fulfil their potential, but we wouldn’t be able to do it without your amazing support. Please keep bidding and from everyone at ReachOut – thank you!”
  • Society of St. James: “We provide housing and support to help vulnerable people, who may also have substance and alcohol use problems and mental health problems, to get off the streets into a safe, permanent home. We believe everyone deserves not just a second chance, or a third chance, but as many chances as they need to change their lives for the better. Our current fundraising activities are to help fund the purchase of another house so that we can provide more long-term, safe accommodation to vulnerable people who have experienced homelessness and will struggle to find their own accommodation. All money received from Shoosmiths will be put towards our capital appeal.”

Shoosmiths and their 12 charity partners’ activity for #givingtuesday is an inspiring story of how the day helps make an impact. In the words of one of Shoosmiths’ many colleagues who made bids during the auction “It is great to be able to support all of the good causes.”