Looking forward to 2021

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We are so proud of the fact that despite the many challenges faced in 2020, we were still able to respond to every single request for help. Amazing when you consider that the number of families referred to us was up by nearly 40% from what we were expecting. The strong relationships we have built over time with our corporate partners, local schools and community organisations have proved invaluable, especially through this time of crisis and uncertainty. When additional support was needed, our partners got behind our virtual fundraising ideas, came up with creative solutions of their own and pulled out all the stops for our Christmas Giving campaign.

We need to keep this momentum going as we brace ourselves for another challenging year and continue with the spirit we saw in 2020 if we are to see this pandemic through. We know the effects of COVID-19 are going to be felt long and hard after infections are under control and the masses have been vaccinated. We predict 3,500 local families will need to use our regular service this year. That’s nearly 70 families each week who, without our support, wouldn’t have the basics items needed to keep their children clothed, warm and safe.

We affectionately call our collective effort Team Stork and together we are a force to be reckoned with. There are so many ways to be part of Team Stork. Here’s an outline of what we have in store for 2021 so far, as well as some inspiration on where others have previously chosen to focus their efforts. Not every idea will be applicable to your organisation, but some may be the perfect match. Or perhaps you have some ideas of your own and need help bringing them to life? However you choose to support us, we will likewise be there to support you and help you to make YOUR difference.

Quarterly campaigns

Mum2Mum – Mothering Sunday, 14th March 2021

Next up is Mum2Mum2021, where we will be providing pamper gifts packs, along with a card handwritten by one of our volunteers, to hundreds of Mums who could do with a pick-me-up at this time. Mums who may not have their own support network and, especially those with young children, whose efforts may otherwise go unrecognised on this day of appreciation. See our Mum2Mum web page for more information. You can also read about last year’s campaign here.

We have an Appeal page to fund the purchasing of gift sets, as well as a special Amazon wish list which will be kept topped up with gift items. Organisations have the option to link their own fundraising event to the Aapeal or even have their own Amazon wish list laden with gifts which their employees can purchase from and they get delivered straight to our warehouse. Perhaps you’d like to sponsor an element of the campaign or you have products which would be a great fit and you’d like to discuss how we could link the two? It’s a wonderful campaign to get behind, especially at the moment when many Mums are at their lowest and their resilience has depleted. It makes a big difference when they are reminded that they are not alone and their community cares.

Stripes4Stripey – Thursday 17th June 2021

This is our national day of the stripes – where we unite with our supporters in wearing stripes and ask them to make a donation to Stripey Stork. COVID-19 didn’t stop us going large last year, we just went virtual with it. It was the rainbow injection everyone needed and we raised an incredible £5,642 as a result. You can read all about last year’s campaign here.

We were super impressed with how creative everyone got to support us from a safe distance. One of our corporate partners Pfizer held a team virtual afternoon tea, with a baby photo quiz and a Stripey bake-off competition. We ‘Zoomed in’ to give a Stripey Stork update, judge the competition and enjoy a slice of cake (virtually of course so minus the calories!).

Then we had a team from Willis Towers Watson who organised a virtual Stripey Stork themed game of Bingo and a pub quiz. All wearing stripes of course! This is just some of the virtual fundraising which took place. Imagine what can be achieved when we are able to fundraise together again? See for yourself what happened the year before for Stripes4Stripey2019. At this moment in time no one knows what restrictions will be in place come June, but one thing’s for sure, the Stripes4Stripey show will go on.

Run Reigate – Sunday 19th September 2021

You’ve most likely pushed boundaries in the last year which you never thought you could. Why not continue pushing further this year and join Team Stork this Run Reigate It’s THE event of the local calendar, has won numerous awards and really brings the whole community together. There’s plenty of distances to choose from – from the 5km right up to the half marathon – and not forgetting the popular kid’s race around Priory Park. Take the lead like local family business Celtic Contractors, who last year had the whole family running for Team Stork.

Plans are already underway for us to be the lead charity partner and after last year’s virtual event, we really can’t wait to get back in the park and turn it orange once more! If you’re interested in getting a team together and running for the stork, like many of our business partners have done in previous years, please email [email protected] to express your interest. Or, if you can’t wait until September, are keen to shift that lockdown stone or need a challenge now, consider doing Stripey’s virtual challenge – your choice, your terms, your time. Find out more here.

Read here about our participation in Run Reigate 2020 (the year it went virtual) and Run Reigate 2019.

Santa Stork – Christmas 2021

No sooner have we caught our breath after Run Reigate, than plans for our biggest campaign of the year start to unfold. Christmas is a time of desperate need for many of the families we support and for the last 7 years we’ve been there to make their Christmas wishes come true. Last year we provided new gifts (with stocking fillers) for 3,631 children and 1,537 adults. To get a feel for the sheer magnitude of the project and the Christmas cheer we spread, we encourage you to read our Santa Stork 2020 blog.

Organised by us, but in collaboration with the whole community, it’s an amazing project and one we are extremely  proud of. If you scroll to the end of the blog, you’ll see all the special shout-outs to local businesses, community groups, schools and fundraisers, to give you an idea of who got involved and how.

Partners Group turned into elves over November and helped with the sorting and packing of gifts, as well as making a generous donation to help us to continue our good work.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions took responsibility for 100 parent/carer presents, buying and wrapping them themselves over a virtual Christmas themed volunteering session.

In 2019, local care home Reigate Grange contributed in a logistical way, by inviting us to run the campaign from the comfort of a number of their adjacent luxury apartments which were vacant at the time. In return, we brought plenty of Christmas cheer to their lovely care home and even got the residents helping in Santa’s workshop. Just some examples of the many wonderful opportunities to get involved in saving Christmas.

As planning needs to start early for a project of this magnitude, we ask those interested to get in touch as early as September so we can factor this into our plans.

Drive it yourself – here’s some inspiration!

By all means, you don’t have to wait until one of our seasonal campaigns, special projects or fundraising events to take action. We love a proactive partner and we’ll always support you with ideas, marketing and even more helping hands if possible, our volunteers really are the best in going above and beyond!

A great example of one of our corporate partners who consistently comes up with great ideas is Natural Baby Shower. Their team have a real passion for what we do after spending some time volunteering with us at our warehouse. As well as being an ethical company and our values being aligned, they are in the baby products market so we have a natural synergy. Over the last few years, they’ve stayed vigilant for opportunities to support our ongoing work. Like recently when they used Giving Tuesday in December 2020 to donate 20% of online sales to charity, split between their three chosen charities. Or when they got stripey for Stripes4Stripey and put together a ‘stripey collection’ of their favourite products and donated 10% of sales from this range over the 4 days surrounding the campaign. The perfect stripey match!

They’ve even been quick to help with very specific product requests, like the time we urgently needed two buggy mattresses for a particular double buggy which was being donated to a family whose baby needed to ride alongside their critical medical equipment – see the full story here.

If you’re keen to organise a fundraising event of your own, either as an individual or team, check out our Fundraising Pack which will guide you through step-by-step and let you know what resources we have to hand. Also check out our dedicated Fundraising webpage.

It may be that you’re passionate about a specific project and would like to raise funds with this in mind, like the Bags4School or holiday activity bags campaigns. We can ensure this happens and give you rewarding feedback on how your fundraising has made a difference.

Charity of the Year

If your company is looking for a charity to support throughout the year, then look no further. You’ll have the opportunity to work on the ground through team volunteering sessions at our warehouse and helping onsite with Santa Stork, as well as getting involved in our other quarterly campaigns. We’d love the opportunity to talk to your team about how they can make a difference. If you like working to a target, we can set up your own company fundraising page, which events and other fundraisers can link to. There’s nothing more motivating than hitting that target and ringing the bell!

Companies who have really benefitted from this relationship are LexisNexis Risk Solutions, who absolutely love their corporate volunteering sessions and Santa Stork is their highlight of the year – they also got involved remotely this year through getting their creative minds to help with some of the wording for our virtual Santa Shop.

Then there’s Osborne who, along with Morrisons Solicitors, turned their company vans into Santa sleighs and delivered hundreds of Christmas presents. Volunteering really does come in many different forms at Stripey Stork.

Our relationship with Reigate Hill Golf Club has really tee’d off over the last year – from charity auctions, raffles and sporting some particularly impressive stripey attire on the fairway for Stripes4Stripey.

Here’s a short video highlighting the benefits of having Stripey Stork as your charity partner.

Stripey goes back to school

Educating pupils about Stripey Stork’s mission and seeing their enthusiasm in wanting to help is one of the favourite parts of our job. The next generation have great ideas on how they’d like to help and they always knock it out the park! Reigate Grammar School is a great example – last Christmas the under 15’s girl’s hockey squad took it upon themselves to go the distance for Stripey Stork. They collectively exercised their way from Reigate to Lapland, raising an astronomical £2,782 for Santa Stork gifts. Earlier in the year, the school organised a drive-thru nappy/stationery donation drop for Stripes4Stripey – with over 7,000 items were collected in total!

We’ve also done some great work with Reigate St Marys and Downsend Pre-Prep School, see link for further information on how we work with schools and the mutually beneficial relationship.

Volunteering – at the heart

We’ve already touched on volunteering, which is a great way to really engage with what we do. You’ll be kept busy sorting donations, making up packs, testing equipment and toys, and helping with campaigns or special projects. The list of tasks is both rewarding and endless. Time spent with Stripey is always time well spent.

At this present time things aren’t as they usually would be, but they will be again and when they are we’ll be welcoming new volunteers and corporate groups once more. We have lots of information about corporate volunteering on our website here and a brochure to have a look through. It’s great for team building and once groups can meet in person again, it will be the perfect opportunity to reconnect with a purpose. Each group is overseen by one of our Volunteer Coordinators, ensuring everyone gets the most out of their session and, like many of our groups, are eager to come back for more.

“This was probably the best charity day I’ve done & I’d happily return in the future and encourage others to do so. A very focused and worthwhile charity. What stood out was that they were clearly used to organising volunteers so had plenty of tasks lined up to make the best use of everyone’s time. There was also plenty of variety in the tasks we undertook.”

LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Show the love

We are so grateful for our partnerships and are always keen to express this appreciation in our communications; especially on our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) of which we have a strong and engaged following, as well as on our website and in our Annual Report.

We feel this is so important; your support should be shouted from the rooftops so our tribe, the local community and your customers/contacts know just how amazing you are!

What’s next

Is there anything in particular which catches your eye? Donna, our Community Ambassador, would very much welcome the opportunity to talk with you or join you at your next meet-up (remotely right now). Please send an email to [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.

We can’t wait to have you on Team Stork.

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