Giving back with The BIG Make!
We’re drawing to the twilight of 2019, and, for me, it’s been a funny old year. A lot has happened, but I feel very lucky to have such a great bunch of family and friends around me. I’m in a good place.
Recently I visited Holly Tucker’s Congregation of Inspiration, and was fired up listening to the programme of speakers there. One of the key messages that has stayed with me from them, and Holly herself, is the importance of being kind and good in business. It’s made me realise how much I want to give something back, both to help others, but also as a mark of my gratitude for the many good things in my life.
The first idea I came up with was to support Age UK. This is a subject very close to my heart, as you may know from reading previous blog posts about my Nan and what a tough year this has been for her. She has been very lucky, but a lot of elderly people don’t have the support she does.
Cadbury’s recently launched a campaign for the Age UK charity where they took the lettering off their packaging and donated the ‘words’ to them.
They’ve also created a really effective advert which helps hit home just how lonely the elderly can be. Often a pensioner may not see or speak to another person for days, which is truly shocking in this day and age. I did a bit of research and you can help the elderly community in many ways, but one is to become a telephone befriender. The charity connect you with someone and you commit to a 30-minute phone conversation each week. You don’t have to give any personal details about yourself and Age UK call you and put you through to your phone friend. I think this is a great idea and definitely something I’m going to do in the New Year when my manic Christmas period is over. (If you’re interested you can find more details here:
While looking into all this the one word that really struck me was loneliness. It isn’t something that just affects the elderly, it can happen to anyone. As someone who works from home it’s certainly an emotion that I can relate to. Simply talking to someone is an important skill, and making conversation with a stranger at a bus stop for example could make a real difference in someone’s life.
All of this pondering brought me to the conclusion that I wanted to create a decoration that could help a lot of people. Everyone goes through hard times but undoubtedly some people have it worse than others, or may be more deeply affected by something. It is VERY important to talk and I would always encourage this, but sometimes people just need a little reminder that someone is thinking about them and will be there if they ever want to talk.
I came up with the idea of designing a decoration that would not only raise money for charity but also act as that crucial reminder to a friend or loved one. You could buy it as a gift for someone that you know is having a hard time, and so I decided to include some strong, supportive and encouraging words that would help people.
All this led to my next idea – a collaboration. Loneliness can affect all of us, including those of us running a small business. Some of the friends who have become the most important to me in recent years as ones like me who run their own companies. They just ‘get it.
When I think of words I think of my buddy Jen Roffe who creates beautiful brush lettering. I went to Jen with my mock up designs and together we’ve created something we’re quite proud of. My original idea was to create an addition to one of my Gingerbread decorations. I thought they could wear a t-shirt with one of the empowering words written on the front (created by Jen of course) but after a coffee one morning with Jen and our other business friend Jane, from Frankly Décor, they suggested using my Ninjabread man decorations and having the words on the cape instead. What better way to show positive power than with a superhero?
So together we have created a limited edition white Ninjabread man with Jen’s beautiful lettering on the cape. The words that we’ve decided to use are: ‘Love’ Kindness’ and ‘Strength’. The charity we have decided to support is the Samaritans as they are there for everyone 24/7. No matter what your age or problem, there is always someone to talk to.
And the collaborative working doesn’t stop there either! As one of the main things we want to address is loneliness, we’ve decided to organise a BIG make. We will get our family and friends together and make the decorations as a team. This get together will also hopefully create a lovely social environment for those who may need it.
I’ve also asked some other small businesses to come on board with the project to make it as a fun and supportive as possible. Wordsmith Sarah Marsh will be helping with the copy and promotion of this project, while the talented Rachel Powell from Light Monkey Photography will be photographing the BIG make for us.
The date for our BIG make is yet to be announced, but if you would like to help with our project please do get in touch. The decorations will be limited edition, with only 60 being made - 20 of each design. They will be sold at £20 each with £15 of that money going directly to the Samaritans. The £5 left will be going towards postage and packaging and material costs and absolutely no profit will be made by any of us. The decorations will go on sale on the 29th October and they will be shipped on 1 December, 2019.
Thanks for reading and watch this space for more news on the BIG make!