Christmas 2019 saw Cotton Court’s 7th annual Barnardo’s gift appeal, and we decided to change things up a bit this year.
Before the appeal launched, Amy (Centre Manager) and Rochelle (Account Executive) went over to Leyland to meet with Jenny and her team at the Barnardo’s Bay6 Project. Bay6 is supported accommodation for young people aged 16 – 21. It was a real eye opener to meet the people that Barnardo’s supports and hear about the circumstances that led to them becoming residents. It was also great to find out what kind of presents they would like to receive on Christmas Day. Choosing gifts for people is always difficult, and it’s even harder when you don’t know who you are buying for. By finding out the type of gifts they would like, we were able to put together a gift suggestion list to make it a little bit easier for those who wished to donate.
It was also a great way to get a better understanding of how our appeal helps them and also the young children that Barnardo’s supports. After our visit, we were even more keen to drive the appeal forward and do our absolute best to generate as much interest as possible.
In previous years, we only had one way of donating – individuals came into Cotton Court to drop off their gift. This year we looked at other ways people could donate so that we could make it more accessible to those not local to Preston or who couldn’t make it into the office. This led to us introducing the JustGiving page, in addition to encouraging people to order a gift from Amazon and send it over to us. Both methods proved to be very popular, with people from many different parts of the country getting involved and donating.
The appeal ran for just over three weeks, and the generosity shown in this time by members of the public and local businesses was truly amazing. December ’tis the season of goodwill after all, and you guys did not disappoint! The donations poured in each day – some days there would be a continuous stream of visitors, from the moment we opened until the moment we closed. Our posts on social media were shared far and wide and this generated increased interest in the appeal and contributed to even more people getting involved.
The appeal was due to end on Monday 16th ready for Jenny and her team to come over to collect the gifts in time for Christmas. Due to the amount we were receiving, we extended the deadline, with our last donation coming in just twenty minutes before they arrived.
To say that they were blown away is an understatement! The donations that we received were distributed between the teams and because of the kindness and generosity shown, hundreds of disadvantaged children and young people woke up to an unexpected present on Christmas Day.
It is impossible to fully express in words how grateful we are and how heartwarming it is to see a community come together to support those less fortunate. Robert Binns, Managing Direct at Cotton Court said: “We are blown away by the support that members of the local community have shown the appeal this year. We’ve collected hundreds of gifts for this fantastic cause and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that donated, no matter how big or small the donation it will go a long way to making a difference this Christmas to the child or young person that receives it.”
As the years go by, the number of people who rely on this appeal grows, and consequently – so does the need for more gifts. With this in mind, we sincerely hope that we will again have the support from local businesses and members of the public far and wide, so that we can make it a memorable Christmas for many more this year.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2020!