Who would you choose?
How do you engage your teams to support the company’s nominated charity? This was a task I was given as Minister of Fun at Cedar Court Hotels Yorkshire.
I decided that the best way forward would be to focus on local Yorkshire charities, but I was also very keen on our team to get involved in the process. So, I started to research local charities and picked out three that I thought would strike a chord with our team and were also diverse in their offering.
I picked up the phone and spoke to Laura at Maggie’s Yorkshire and arranged for her to come see me at our hotel in Wakefield. Laura spoke very passionately about the new facility in Leeds and what it will bring to the Yorkshire area. Maggie’s Centres are offering support to people living with cancer and the centre is built around the belief that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.
The fundraising team needed to raise £5M before one brick could be laid, they started to build the centre in 2017 and it will be opening in October 2019. Laura invited me to come and have a look at what, is an outstanding piece of architecture. Working in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and once open it is expected to receive up to 30 000 visits a year.
The same day I spoke to Allison Parker from Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and she invited me to see the work they do in their hospice in Huddersfield for children with life shortening illnesses. Having never been to a children’s hospice before I was not sure what to expect and little apprehensive. But from the minute I walked in I was met with warm friendly faces who could not have been more welcoming.
Alison gave me a full tour of what the hospice has to offer, and I was absolutely blown away by the dedication of the staff. They were in the middle of an Open Day letting the children explore the Around the World theme. I found the facility absolutely mind blowing with hydro pool, sensory room, a den with computer games, bedrooms to enable the parents to have some respite and some beautiful outdoor space.
'what struck me the most is that you never know when you will need them'
I then spoke to a lovely girl Jenny Jones who is the regional fundraising manager for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and arranged to meet in Bradford to discuss what we are trying to achieve. Jenny is very passionate about what she does and gave me a fantastic overview of Yorkshire Air Ambulance. On average the Yorkshire Air Ambulance is called out 5x a day and costs £6M a year to run.
I think what struck me most about this charity is that you never know when you may need them. On my way to work to meet Jenny there was a dreadful accident on the M62 and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was called out. The sudden realisation that someone left for work that day (...probably, without a care in the world) was now relying on the care of these doctors to safe their life, brought things to perspective. It occurred to me that we are incredibly lucky to have this service which is funded mainly through charity donations.
I am strong believer that giving the opportunity to our colleagues to choose, will result in more engaged and excited team when we are putting the fundraising ideas together. Besides, this herculean task will not be all on me!
So, it is now over to our team...Week commencing 16th September I will be going around our hotels in Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Wakefield and presenting these three charities to the team, asking them to vote for which charity they want to support in 2020.
… so, the decision was made
Our team voted, and we listened. The nominated charity for Cedar Court Hotels Yorkshire in 2020 will be Maggie's. We are all looking forward to the exciting year ahead when we will be raising funds to support such a worthy cause. We would love to invite you, our guests and friends of the hotel to join us on this journey and support our team when they will be putting all their focus to achieve a great results to be proud of.
Follow me, Minister of Fun on Twitter @MOFcedarcourt