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

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!

Project 84

Yesterday saw one of the most powerful and striking charity campaign stunts that we’ve ever witnessed. ‘Project 84’ is a campaign launched by charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), and draws attention to male suicide, with 84 males dying by suicide every week in the UK.

The stunt saw 84 sculptures of men stood on the edge of the ITV building on the South Bank, fully dressed, looking entirely lifelike. Each sculpture represents a man who, statistically, will take his own life this week.

The power of the images is immense and has picked up coverage across the world.

Suicide is an issue that impacts families in an utterly devastating way. Like so many health conditions, especially those related to mental health, it is misunderstood and often shied away from. It’s time that changed and we all started talking openly about our mental and physical health.

Project 84 has such a profound message and this stunt delivers it in a truly blunt way – this kind of message needs to be blunt and the execution is incredible.

Professor Stephen Hawking

Today we remember one of the world’s most eminent scientists and most recognisable faces, Professor Stephen Hawking, who died this morning at the age of 76.
Professor Hawking’s achievements are many and will be covered extensively over the coming days, but his support of charity is something that may slip under the radar.

Hawking lent his status as a world-famous figure to countless campaigns and charity initiatives; from setting up a foundation in his name (The Stephen Hawking Foundation), aimed at facilitating research into Cosmology, Astrophysics and Fundamental Particle Physics, as well as facilitating and supporting work relating to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and those living with the disease – a condition that Professor Hawking had lived with for more than 50 years.

Further charity work included everything from lending his name and voice to MND fundraising events, including a recent swim across the River Thames in London, to appearing as a guest speaker at charity conferences and of course his work on TV, including his memorable sketch on Comic Relief where celebrities auditioned to be his ‘new voice’.

Not only was Professor Hawking an inspiration in his professional life, but a great example of how someone with high public profile can make a real difference to charity campaigns and messages.

A life well lived.

Bitcoin donors

We seem to be in the midst of an existential crisis when it comes to our giving, bound up in a lot of ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ questions around our support.

The sector has been rocked by a wide range of issues, aired largely in the full gaze of the mainstream media which in turn has rocked public confidence.

Charities across the board are searching for ways to hold on to supporters, generate consistent income and show how donor money is being spent.

With a media focus on accountability dictating the public narrative at this time, it’s easy to forget that individuals making gestures is still at the core of charity giving and what keeps charities alive. It’s as simple as helping someone in need or who is less fortunate than you.

It’s Monday, so here is a really inspiring story of someone who, with terrific resources at their disposal, did something that will change lives for the better – an anonymous Bitcoin donor who gave millions away to charities.

We can’t all give millions to charities but we can all do our bit – support a charity when you can!

A Day With Maria Bravo

We had the pleasure of hosting Maria Bravo, Founder of the Global Gift Foundation and Global Gift Gala, for a day last week, as she and her team met with charities from across the UK, including a visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital, who benefited from the Global Gift Gala London, held in November 2017.

The day began with an invitation only breakfast held in the luxurious and welcoming surroundings of the Devonshire Club in Central London. Maria spoke passionately about her love for philanthropy, her story and her continuing drive to make the world a better place. Charity representatives from across the sector were in attendance and enjoyed a delicious breakfast and conversation. There were representatives from mothers2mothers, MacMillan Cancer and many more.

Maria’s busy day continued as she and Nick Ede, EastofEden CEO and Global Gift Gala Ambassador travelled on to Great Ormond Street Hospital to visit patients who had benefited from the funds raised by from Global Gift Gala. It was a really moving experience for all involved and a great reminder of what all of the hard work goes towards – benefiting incredible causes and making a real difference to people’s lives.

A busy day that began in the early hours continued as Maria and her team moved on to Quaglinos, hosting a celebratory dinner for Global Gift Gala supporters, talent, charities and media. Guests including Jessica and Robert Pires, Karen Ruimey, Konnie Huq, Clare Merry, Ashley James and Charlotte de Carle  enjoyed delicious Absolut Elyx Global Gift Cocktails, a three course meal and speeches from a range of inspiring speakers, including Maria, Nick and Diana Award CEO – Tessy Ojo.

As a packed day came to an end, we can all look forward to another year of Global Gift Galas across the world, bringing glamour and talent together to benefit causes that really matter.

If you’d like to find out more about the Global Gift Gala and how you can get involved please visit http://www.globalgiftgala.com or get in touch!

Positivity must win out.

As the news coverage is consumed by the fallout from Oxfam’s handling of sexual misconduct cases in Haiti during its 2011 post-earthquake relief efforts, which has followed hot on the heels of the Presidents Club exposé, it feels charity and society in general is sitting in the middle of an existential crisis.

The UK has always had a strong relationship with charity; whether that’s throwing some coins in a bucket, volunteering at a project, setting up a direct debit, running a marathon or offering a stranger help in the aftermath of a public tragedy – as a nation we love to help. However, it feels like charities are under more scrutiny than ever and our relationship with giving is changing.

As a company we work really hard to bring positivity and enthusiasm to the work we do, elevating the charities we work with and celebrating the difference they make. When something comes along that questions the public’s trust in charity giving, it impacts the entire sector. No one wins.

Our commitment to charity started on day one. I founded EastofEden to promote talent-led, brand-awareness and engagement campaigns for charities. Our campaigns and events are grounded in positivity and celebrating the amazing achievements made. We’ve worked with international charities who promote volunteering for young people, through to health charities who are shining a light on an issue that can devastate lives if not caught early enough. No matter what the cause – it should be highlighted and celebrated. With everything that’s happened, we’ve looked at how we approach what we do and are firm in our position that positivity must win out.

Giving is good. It makes a real difference to people’s lives and we need to celebrate that. Yes, elements of the sector require change, culturally or otherwise, but fundamentally we give because we know we can play a part in changing someone’s life for the better.

Time to Talk

Today is Time to Talk Day, an initiative from mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, aimed at breaking the silence around mental health. Organisations and individuals up and down the country are helping to spread the word about this fantastic initiative and with great reason to. On our doorstep, Huckle the Barber has been offering free tea, coffee and donuts this morning for anyone who just wants to pop in for a chat. It’s really inspiring to see.

Despite one in four people in the UK being affected by mental health issues, talking about them openly is still a taboo subject. It is frankly outrageous that a society such as ours – world-leaders in all kinds of of medical research and treatment – can’t grasp mental health as a comfortable subject.

Whether it’s something that impacts an individual’s self-esteem, relationships or completely dictates someone’s day-to-day life, mental health problems can be debilitating to both the sufferer and those around them; it’s time to talk.

Ultimately, mental health is personal. It’s the most personal thing we have. Your mental makeup defines you and is the core of who you are. Of course, the idea of sharing can be daunting and should always be a personal choice, however the bigger issue is that as a society we don’t make it the norm to talk about mental health and as such the acceptance isn’t there.

We should do more to encourage people to talk, not to retreat. Let’s make a change. Let’s lose the throwaway phrases that mean we don’t have to deal with what might be going on. Let’s replace the comment about your friend being “too sensitive”, “volatile”, “lairy”, “antisocial” or a “recluse” and replace them with something simple. “How are you feeling mate?” or “Are you OK?”

#timetotalk

#SmearForSmear

As part of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, today we see the launch of the #SmearForSmear campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the risks of cervical cancer and encourage women to attend smear tests.

Now, let’s get this out of the way first – cancer does not discriminate. Anyone who’s had a loved one suffer from any form of cancer will tell you that it’s harsh, destructive and incredibly cruel, yet, if caught early enough it is treatable and a potentially harrowing journey can be stopped in its tracks.

1 in 4 women in the UK don’t attend their scheduled smear tests and that drops to 1 in 3 for women between 25 and 29. This needs to change.  A study from the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust found that embarrassment was a key reason for not getting tested.

Whether male or female, the prospect of letting someone clinically analyse your bits and bobs can be daunting and can feel embarrassing, but just remember, they couldn’t care less! Doctors and nurses aren’t there to pass judgement or criticise; when it comes to smear test, their job is to potentially save your life.

Get tested. Be safe. Be happy.

Simple.