We Love Manchester Support

Rugby League club the Salford Red Devil have announced they will be wearing a special jersey in support of the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

The special edition shirt will be worn at the club’s upcoming fixture at Magic Weekend – the showcase weekend for the sport, with every team playing back-to-back on the same pitch across a weekend, in front of a huge crowd.

The shirt design features the bee, synonymous with Manchester and a symbol that has been a source of togetherness, support and strength since the attacks.

The We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, which was set up in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena attack on 22 May 2017 when 22 people died, will benefit from sales of the shirt.

This isn’t the first example of the club supporting promoting a fundraising. Last year they hosted a match against the Catalan Dragons shortly after the attacks and allowed fans in to watch for a donation rather than purchasing a ticket, with all the proceeds going to help the victims.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Salford player Weller Hauraki said:

“Nobody will forget that night as the news began to break. Most of the team live and have family around the Manchester area and the Arena is a venue we all know well.

“The emotion of the night when we played the Dragons in the aftermath of the bomb is one that really sticks in the mind.

“It was an honour to play a small role in the wider community coming together and it will again be a privilege to take a part in remembering those that lost their lives when we run out at St James’ Park in this special jersey almost a year later.”

Support for Manchester since the attacks has been far and wide, including the deeply emotional and poignant One Love Manchester concert, organised by Ariana Grande whose show at Manchester Arena had been targeted in the attack. That night saw stars from across the world offer their support, including Take That, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder, Coldplay and many more.

Next month will mark one year since the attacks, an anniversary that will be moving and a chance for reflection. We’d encourage everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and support initiatives like that of Salford, which help to raise funds and allow charities to offer continued support for the victims going forward.

Tessa & Tallia #MakeAStatement

In a world of social media it’s important to remember that being a celebrity or a public figure is not plain sailing. For every person who says something positive about an achievement, there is someone lining up to say something nasty about a perceived vulnerability.

Last year Scottish Fashion Awards founder, Tessa Hartmann, was diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatment. Her daughter, singer and reality TV star, Tallia Storm, has talked of how difficult it was to know whether to share the news and part of that was a concern about the awful things some people might say.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Tallia said “It maybe sounds silly but when you’re in the public eye, you know there are people out there who like to say horrible things. I don’t care what anyone says about me, but I didn’t want anyone saying anything about my family.”

However, as Tessa continues her fantastic recovery, Tallia and Tessa have decided to team-up and share their story as part of their support for cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now, as they launch their 2018 Fashion Targets Breast Cancer Campaign. The mother-daughter duo want to raise awareness of breast cancer and encourage other women to be vigilant around possible symptoms, something Tessa took on board when reading an article about breast cancer just months before her diagnosis.

It’s inspirational to see someone using their influence to not only champion a cause, but to share their story as a real-life example of diagnosis and successful treatment.

If you’d like to support this brilliant campaign, which has raised in excess of £15m since it began in 1996, you can shop the collection at www.fashiontargetsbreastcancer.org.uk and share your images @fashiontargetsbreastcancer #MakeAStatement

A Royal Gift

A number of charities have received an early wedding present from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as the couple have asked guests to make a donation to charity as their wedding present.

The announcement, made through Kensington Palace today, shared the news that Meghan and Harry have selected a number of organisations and causes they are passionate about, though are not personally connected to in any formal capacity.

The lucky charities include; CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association), Crisis, the Myna Mahila Foundation, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, StreetGames, Surfers Against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation UK.

It’s clear from the list that these charities reflect causes that both Harry and Meghan have a personal interest in, spanning issues such as women’s empowerment, ecological and environmental, mental health and military rehabilitation and support.

As with last weeks post about Ricky Gervais and his innovative charity fundraising through his tour, it’s really great to see Prince Harry and Ms. Markle using their profile and situation to share the goodwill and generosity of guests and the public.

This gesture also proves that charity fundraising can be built into a celebration as part of life, it doesn’t have to exist in isolation!

Oh the Humanity!

Ricky Gervais has raised more than $420,000 for charities through his 120-date Humanity tour.

The innovative scheme saw all platinum package tickets sold at market rates, guaranteeing the purchaser a premium seat at the market rate, with all extra profits going to charity.

The initiative was aimed to raise money for good causes whilst also beating ticket touts who, in recent years, have been known to mass-purchase tickets for popular events before reselling them to the public at highly inflated prices.

Gervais, who is outspoken on a variety of issues and known for his support of animal welfare charities, split more than £200,000 between the RSPCA and MacMillan Cancer Support in the UK, with charities in the US and Canada also benefiting.

Speaking of the scheme, Gervais said “It’s such a perfect scheme as I can donate hundreds of thousands of pounds to worthy causes close to my heart knowing that I’ve denied scummy touts of that cash.”. He has also confirmed that he will bring this fundraising initiative into his future tours.

We think this is a really kind, simple and great approach to fundraising. It’s a win-win for everyone. Charities benefit, fans benefit and the act gets to choose causes that are close to their hearts and make a difference!

Children Should Not Kill Children

We’ve seen a heartbreaking few days across London with young people losing their lives to senseless acts of violence. Sadly, as like any major city, London has its share of tragedies. From terror attacks aimed at instilling a sense of fear in the resident and visiting population to acts of aggression and retaliatory violence that is causing so many young people to lose their lives.

The recent news is painful to hear and brings back awful memories of the death of young people such as Damilola Taylor all those years ago.

It’s easy to point the finger of blame at a single element, whether that be the police not patrolling high-risk areas, the government reducing front-line police spending and numbers, society at large for allowing a gang culture to exist and thrive, family breakdowns, failed community integration, a lack of opportunity and aspiration or even social media, which has been blamed widely over the last few days for being the starting point for some of these deadly feuds. In reality, it could be all or any of those things.

Yet London is a place like no other. Its pace and cultural diversity are unique; more than 300 languages are spoken in London schools. Just think about that for a minute… more than 300! London thrives on this diversity. New cultures are welcomed with the population on the whole more than willing to explore, learn and enjoy these cultures, whether that’s through their cuisine, fashion or traditions, London embraces love, positivity and change.

Let’s be clear, these attacks are motivated by a cultural difference, in fact, they’re seemingly motivated by very little other than a short-term feud that has ended in a loss of life. There’s no excuse for it but what it does suggest is that young people are, by carrying a deadly weapon such as a knife or a gun, seeking to reclaim a sense of power and self-worth that they have clearly lost along the way.

We, as a society, need to work harder to engage and encourage young people. Aspirations need to go beyond the power of carrying a weapon. Sadly there will always be fringe elements that are hard to reach, but we should not wake up to the news on an almost-daily basis of a young person having lost their life, destroying both their family and that of the perpetrators.

Children should not kill children and when we live in a society that allows even a small element on the margins to think that’s an acceptable course of action, we need to pause and figure out where we’ve gone wrong.