Izzy's highlights of the year so far
Our House staff are an invaluable part of what the Charity does, from the House Managers who ensure everything in the Houses continues to run smoothly, the House Assistants who welcome families in and support them through their journey while their little ones are in hospital, to our incredible Fundraisers who work hard to organise local events and engage with the community.
As we head into the second half of the year, our Southampton Fundraising Administrator Izzy has picked out her highlights of 2017 so far.
Since starting as Fundraising Administrator in March, so much has happened at the House and I have been lucky enough to be a part of it. From marathons to pyjama days, here are my highlights so far…
Back in April we held a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to mark National Tea Day. I was given the seemingly easy task of finding the costumes and props but after contacting what I thought was every costume shop in Hampshire, I finally found a youth theatre willing to come to the rescue. They gave us costumes, decorations, crockery and everything ‘Alice In Wonderland’ themed that you can think of. The House staff and our dayroom looked amazing. Alice, The Mad Hatter and I (dressed as Tweedledum) even got to walk round the hospital wards inviting people over and saying hello. It was great to see the looks on the children’s faces and even the nurses asked us for photos!
Our first ever PJ Day took place in June. Schools, youth groups and workplaces all got involved and wore their pyjamas for our good cause. In House we celebrated by having a pyjama party for the families and staff, complete with classic movies and pizza. Thanks to everyone that took part, we raised over £1,000 – that’s 40 nights’ accommodation!
Challenge events have been a big feature in the first half of the year, which all kicked off with the ABP Southampton Marathon. As well as having several runners in the race (including Matt Le Tissier!), we were ‘Mile Makers’, which basically meant that we had to motivate and entertain the runners during our designated mile. We raised over £1,300, it didn’t rain and we had a great day!
The annual skydive was very sadly cancelled on our selected date due to the unpredictable British weather, however our 20+ skydivers have all rebooked and we can’t wait to hear how it goes!
I’ve been amazed at how much the McDonald’s staff support the House too. During my first six months we have had four teams take part in a very muddy obstacle course at The Whole Hog. We also had 27 members of staff, led by their Operational Manager, Adie Twining that took part in Bike Oxford – an 80/50/25 mile bike ride. Collectively they raised an amazing £9,076.
What keeps our House going is definitely our supporters. Something that has really surprised me (in a good way) is how generous people can be. The main example that comes to mind here is Easter. I’d been told that we would get a lot of chocolate eggs, but on Good Friday I did not expect to come in to 400 of them. Even more amazingly, later on that day ‘Jesse’s Dreams’ donated 400 more, along with lots of things from our wish list. They had stayed with us while their little boy was in hospital and just wanted to give something back. There have been so many big donations since I got here, I can’t name them all but they have all made a HUGE difference to our families.
It has already been quite a year, and we are only just over half way through. We still have a few events coming up; The Great South Run (spaces are filling up fast), our Superheroes Week in September and of course our Anniversary Raffle in December. I am working hard on my parts and hopefully the second half of the year will be even better than the first!