Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

[caption id="attachment_7529" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Christmas Jumper Day at Bertrams Bertrams have pulled out the stops! Click on the pic to enlarge if needed[/caption]

What better way to finish Community Link-Up for 2013 with our third and final look at festive jumpers!

Bertrams have sent us a fine selection of knitwear from the day, together with the news they raised a fantastic £219.38 in the process :)

Which means the overall total raised for Save the Children now stands at £363.76.

All that remains is to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Community Link-Up will return on January 6th 2014.

Monday, 23 December 2013

It's Secret Santa... With a Twist!

[caption id="attachment_7518" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Christmas presents by the tree ready to take to the refuge Christmas presents by the tree ready to take to the refuge[/caption]

Lisa Lynn added a fresh twist to the IT department's Secret Santa at Rowan House last week, by arranging for everyone to buy presents for children at Swindon Women’s Aid.

[caption id="attachment_7519" align="alignright" width="191"]Lisa with the presents Lisa with the presents[/caption]

“I thought that instead of doing Secret Santa for ourselves and getting something that we don’t really need, we could buy something for a charity that caters for people who won’t be spending Christmas with family. The Women’s Refuge is a great idea, as many of the women here have children that do not receive much – if anything – on Christmas Day.”

She and her generous colleagues presented gifts to a total of 28 children aged between 1 and 18 on Thursday. Lisa even got in touch with the refuge beforehand to find out the gender and age of the children staying there, so every child received a gift that was appropriate for them.

Lisa put a lot of thought into how it would work and put together a spreadsheet of everyone taking part, plus the ages and gender of the children who would get a present. You can see from the pictures she gathered masses of them!

Lynsey Bull added: 

"...it seems the twist to secret Santa has gone down a treat and everyone is really happy about doing it."

Friday, 20 December 2013

Bob has a 'Bit of a Do'

[caption id="attachment_7501" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Beat Beat presenting cheques Bob Beat giving the representatives their cheques. From left to right we have Caedmon Primary School, Cleveland Hall Community Centre and Whickham Juniors Football Club[/caption]

Newcastle's Carol Inglis has sent us this heart warming story...

Bob Beat, a Supervisor in Customer Service, has managed to do even more with his ‘Spare Time’.  He organised ‘ A Bit of a Do’ for 3 different local organisations that he is involved with - Whickham Juniors Football Club, Cleveland Hall Community Centre and Caedmon Primary School.  The total  for the night was £400 which was divided between the 3 organisations.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Jumper Day... Take 2

[caption id="attachment_7472" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Instore show off their festive jumpers Another fine festive selection as modelled by James Bullen, Rachel Underhill and Sophie Morris[/caption]

Instore took the opportunity to show off their Christmas jumpers last week as part of their staff raffle and buffet festivities.

Meanwhile those too shy to go on camera at Rowan House, raised a further £69.38 for Save the Children.

Thus the total raised for Christmas Jumper Day now stands at £144.38 :)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Houtschild's Festive Spirit

Houtschild's Annemarie Fennema reminds us that a simple action with the smallest of donations can amount to something very large indeed when everyone's contribution is added together. This is a super story with which to celebrate both the spirit of the season and also our second contribution from our international colleagues in Holland :)

A small article in our local newspaper was the start of a very good plan.

The article described an initiative by one of the Dutch Lions clubs. Back in 2012 they began collecting coupons from Douwe Egberts coffee and exchanging them for coffee to distribute among the local food banks. This year they did so again and the number of coupons they received was overwhelming. Coupon clipping is a typical Dutch habit.

In our office we drink lots of Douwe Egberts tea and coffee but we do not really know what to do with the coupons. We had loads of them just lying around, and feeling an early Christmas spirit coming on, we decided to donate the coupons to this good cause. 

In just two weeks we came up with 23,844 points, which amounts to some 50 packs of coffee.

Douwe egberts 1

On December 10th, before we sent them our parcel, the Lions’ total score was almost 7 million points. How much coffee would that be? And what would that look like in terms of coupons?

On Saturday, after the first big count, the score was well over 11 million points!*
That sure feels good!

Douwe Egberts picture 2The count goes on for another fortnight...

What a fantastic idea Annemarie and thank you! I think this is something to keep in mind for 2014 with e.g. the various coupons given away by supermarkets from time to time here in the UK. 

* = which makes the total donated in excess of 23,000 packs by my reckoning - that's an awful lot of coffee - Ed

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Jumper Day... Take 1

[caption id="attachment_7464" align="aligncenter" width="640"]A selection of festive jumpers at Wednesbury A fine selection of festive knitwear from Wednesbury - click on the pic to enlarge[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7480" align="alignright" width="300"]Christmas jumper NAC photo NAC also showing a good turnout[/caption]

Congratulations to the Customer Services team at Wednesbury, you have the honour of sending the first pictures for Christmas Jumper Day 2013 :)

And what a fine turnout it was, netting contributions of £38.

NAC weren't to be outdone, with their selection raising £37.

Did your location take part in Save the Children's Christmas Jumper Day? We have space on the blog this week for your pics!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Michael Nets A Nifty Silver

Breaking news re the European Championships from the British Swimming Twitter feed late yesterday afternoon:

A new British record in this event and the 100m breaststroke earlier in the championships (in 57.89 seconds, though sadly no medal) marks a notable return to form after Michael's recent heart scare :)

Note that this is a short course (25 metre pool) championship and Michael beat his Bath team-mate Andrew Willis, who finished in the 4th place heartbreaker (albeit in a new English record).

NB British Swimming's website has a neat video of Michael discussing this week's Duel in the Pool. Look out for news of the broadcast times on Community Link-Up later this week.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sending Aid to the Philippines

[caption id="attachment_7430" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Typhoon relief at Borehamwood Leticia Catores with the donations collected from staff & contractors for the Philippines[/caption]

The pictures of the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines have touched the hearts of many people in the UK, who have dug deep and given generously to the relief appeal. Smiths News was no exception, as Chris Foord reports...

With 10%+ of Borehamwood staff coming from the Philippines and all of them considered friends and/or colleagues we decided to try and pull together and gather some well needed supplies to send over, with help from Leticia Catores and Chris Foord in organising and spreading the word. From all that was donated we have managed to get around 8 black bin bags of clothing/goods from Smiths News staff & contractors.

This will now be shipped over to the Philippines to aid as many people as it can, in the wake of the typhoon.

Many thanks to all that helped and donated and our thoughts go out to all that were affected, or are family and friends.

NB The Disasters Emergency Committee's website shows what's happening with the relief aid going out to the Philippines. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Announcing the Community Link-Up Awards 2013

Community Link Up Awards Banner

It's time to celebrate!

Community Link-Up has been a great success this year because of your hard work, so today sees the launch of the Community Link-Up Awards to say "thank you". 2013 saw the broadening of our community initiative into three key strands, so it's appropriate that the Awards have also changed to reflect this.

CLU Awards logoThis year's categories are:

Fundraising Awards

  • Fundraiser of the Year (team)

  • Fundraiser of the Year (individual)

  • Most Inspirational Individual

Volunteering Awards

  • Volunteer of the Year (team)

  • Volunteer of the Year (individual)

Link-Up Awards

  • Best Link-Up Event

  • Best Link-Up Location

You'll find all the details of this years Awards including their nomination criteria in the Awards Brochure (NB this is a pdf download).  You can also download the Nomination Form.

The closing date for Award nominations is Friday 17th January 2014.

Nomination forms can be sent to Laura Morris at any time up to the closing date via email.

Or you can post them to: Laura Morris, Group Communications Executive, Rowan House, Cherry Orchard North, Kembrey Park, Swindon, SN2 8UH.

Good luck and happy nominating!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Consortium go Dotty for Children in Need

Consortium Children in Need 2013

PJs, onesies and all kinds of dotted wear, not to mention a celebrity visit from Mr Blobby, meant a fun time was had by all at both The Consortium's Trowbridge and Shrewsbury sites recently. All in the name of Children in Need :)

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Stockport in the Community

[caption id="attachment_7392" align="aligncenter" width="640"]All spick and span for the Christmas Fair - a job well done All spick and span for the Christmas Fair - a job well done[/caption]

'Tis the season of goodwill and Stockport House are showing us the way today with their tale of how they helped their local community recently. Keith Foster has more...

As part of our involvement within the local community in the Brinnington area of Stockport, a number of our team at Smiths News in Stockport volunteered to help to prepare the Church Hall at St Lukes Church in time for the upcoming Christmas Fair.

The Church Hall was in need of some serious tlc and our team spent time discussing and agreeing exactly what support the representatives of the Church required.

Once this was agreed our team swung into action and prepared and then painted the interior of the Hall and made it look “fresher than it had ever been”. To be honest the most time-consuming part of this whole project was deciding on what colour paint was required!!

Stockport in the community inside photoThe ladies at the Church Hall were delighted with our efforts as the painting work was completed on the day before the Christmas Fair and they were excited about showing off their improvements to the broader Community.

Smiths News also donated a number of raffle prizes and members of the Smiths News team baked cakes to sell at the fair on the day.

It was really nice to instigate this project within the local community and “give something back” as we employ a large amount of people from within this area. Not only did the Hall look much better, but the people who use this facility (which is many different Groups throughout the whole of the Community) really appreciated what we had done. However one of the most important things was that we all had some “fun along the way” together, and hopefully this is the beginning of a relationship that we can look to develop within the community in the future.

Thad Barker (Senior Neighbourhood Management Officer for Stockport Council) said: “On behalf of Stockport Council and the local Community we are really grateful for the support that Smiths News in Stockport has given to us. This is the first time that anybody has done anything like this for us, and for that we all say a really big thank you. It is fair to say that your help and support has brightened up not only the Church Hall but the whole feel of the place and the ladies down there are really thrilled.”

What a fantastic effort Keith, the results of which look set to brighten up events in Brinnington for many months to come. We look forward to hearing how this project develops with your local community and sharing it via Community Link-Up. :)