A growing number of franchisors and franchisees are placing increasing importance on partnering with local and national charities. Here, we champion their activities and how they’re making a difference to people’s lives
Estate agent’s charitable contribution recognised with sustainability accolade
“For some of our participants, it’s been life changing”
Claire Meyer, director of Meyers Estate Agents, has been honoured for her part in setting up the GAP Project in Dorchester with mental health charity Dorset Mind.
Claire, who founded the home-based estate agency Meyers Franchise with husband Mark, was inspired to get involved in the community eco-initiative to help those suffering with mental health issues.
As a consequence, she was presented with a Sustainability Award by Successful Women in Business South West.
Claire says: “Spending time in green spaces or bringing nature into everyday life can benefit both mental and physical well-being.
“The GAP Project offers outdoor opportunities to grow and tend four allotment plots and the trained staff and volunteers provide practical support to those referred to the project with mental health problems.
“We grow vegetables in raised beds and there is a poly tunnel and an eco-garden that is all wheelchair and mobility access friendly.
“The aim is to improve quality of life and support our participants, both young and old, to build confidence, self-esteem, and resilience while connecting with nature and other people.”
Although she won the award, Claire was eager to state that the GAP Project was a “massive community effort”, adding: “We’ve welcomed support from volunteers, local companies, our franchisees and our partnership with Dorset Mind, whose staff have bought into the project as much as we have.”
Meyers intends to offer the GAP Project as a blueprint for its franchisees, giving them the chance to recreate their own eco-projects.
Nicole McCormack, adult services manager at Dorset Mind, says: “Claire and Mark’s vision, enthusiasm and contribution to fundraising efforts for the GAP Project, in combination with the structure Dorset Mind has in place to engage and support referrals, has made the project a reality.
“The result is a safe space for those with mental health problems who prefer less intensity than focused one-to-one or group sessions.
“As well as helping reduce the stigma associated with mental health, the eco-project is another tool to help with the day-to-day challenges people face. For some of our participants, it’s been life changing.”
Papa John’s raises six-figure sum for Paralympics
“An incredible opportunity… to raise money for a fantastic cause”
Through its ‘We are Limitless’ campaign, pizza franchise Papa John’s has raised nearly £250,000 for charity partner ParalympicsGB.
Launched in 2020, it shone a light on how each athlete ambassador who took part has overcome the challenges they’ve faced.
In summer 2021, Papa John’s launched the Weirwolf Challenge, featuring multiple Paralympic gold medal winner David Weir.
A virtual race event, it saw company employees, customers and David himself take part in a collective effort to see how many times they could make the 8,100-mile journey from London to Tokyo and back again.
Using an app, participants were encouraged to clock up one mile a day by running, walking, cycling, hand biking or via wheelchair as part of their daily exercise.
All movements were tracked by the app and accumulated to show how many miles had been travelled collectively.
Giles Codd, Papa John’s UK marketing director, says: “Our partnership with ParalympicsGB has been an incredible opportunity for us to join with our customers to raise money for a fantastic cause.”
Other notable Papa John’s charitable work includes its alliance with micro-donations specialist Pennies, which gives customers the option to donate a few pence to charity when they pay for their pizza online.
To date, over £300,000 has been raised to support Save the Children, Crisis, Macmillan Cancer Support, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Trussell Trust, among several other deserving causes.
Ovenu sponsors a guide dog puppy to the tune of £15K
“Everyone at Ovenu is eager to see Selsey progress”
Rik Hellewell’s support for Guide Dogs dates back to his late teens when he used to work in a pub opposite the charity’s headquarters in Wokingham, Berkshire.
The Ovenu founder and managing director says: “I used to see a lot of the handlers and trainers with the dogs and sometimes they brought them into the pub to familiarise them with groups of people and the noise.”
As a result of this serendipitous encounter, Guide Dogs is now benefiting to the tune of £15,000, following Ovenu’s decision to gift it the money to sponsor a puppy.
More than 100 of the oven valeting company’s franchisees have contributed to the initiative, together with staff at the company’s headquarters.
Franchisees have reported a positive reaction from clients and black Labrador puppy Selsey’s training is going well.
“Everyone at Ovenu is eager to see Selsey progress and look forward to the moment she is able to transform someone’s life,” Rik says.
“We know charities’ incomes have been hit hard by the pandemic and everyone at Ovenu wanted to do something positive to make a difference.”
Ovenu franchisees plan to share regular ‘pupdates’ with clients to raise further awareness of the charity. The company has also set up a JustGiving page where people can make their own donations.
Monkey Music helps Nordoff Robbins transform young people’s lives
“Activities included the release of a heart-warming Christmas song”
Monkey Music has donated tens of thousands of pounds to Nordoff Robbins during its near 30-year association with the music therapy charity.
Both organisations recognise the power of music to help transform young people’s lives, as well as support early years development.
Angie Coates, CEO of Monkey Music, which provides award-winning music classes for babies and young children, says she’s always valued the role music therapy plays in the lives of many vulnerable people. This stems from when she attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which offered its own music therapy course.
When Angie founded Monkey Music, she wanted to support a charity that was relevant to her business and where she could make an impact – so Nordoff Robbins became the franchise’s national charity.
Since then, activities organised by the franchise and its franchisees have included the release of a heart-warming Christmas song called Music is a Gift and a Sing and Play Challenge, which started during the first national lockdown and involved Monkey Music families taking part in a virtual singing challenge that raised £17,477.
Franchisees also do their own fundraising, with two franchisees organising a mini-triathlon that raised over £15,000.
Neighbourly’s activities support charities at both national and local level
“Within 11 days we had donated a total of 1,847 items to the West Berks Foodbank”
It’s fair to say that multi-brand franchisor Neighbourly is heavily involved in charity work across its 300-plus franchise locations.
Not only is the company a big supporter of Save the Children and Comic Relief, but its brands also contribute at a local level too.
For example, Dream Doors’ Basingstoke and Newbury franchisees Adrian and Lesley Wallace helped feed thousands of vulnerable people in their territory by transforming their kitchen showroom into a socially distanced facility that allowed locals to donate food to the West Berks Foodbank at the start of the first lockdown in 2020.
Their efforts were recognised recently when they were awarded Community Champion of the Year at the kbb Review Retail and Design Awards.
Lesley explains: “Within 11 days we had donated a total of 1,847 items to the West Berks Foodbank, including 315 tins of food, 30kg of sugar, 35 jars of coffee and 639 nappies.
“Adrian began making socially-distanced food deliveries to those in need on behalf of the foodbank, while I stayed in the showroom to accept donations.
“Instead of popping a few tins in the supermarket donation bin, people started hovering outside the front and emptying boot-loads they had filled from a visit to the local shop.
“Our donations continued to grow and eventually the foodbank started to send their van round to collect them.”
InXpress Gives Back funds lifesaving defibrillators
“I was put in touch with SADS UK, who were able to offer me a lot of support”
When the InXpress Gives Back committee asked for recommendations for charities it could support, Lisa Savage, who works for the shipping and logistics expert’s North Surrey branch, immediately suggested SADS UK.
She had good reason to: the cardiac charity had provided her with invaluable support after she had a sudden cardiac arrest.
It was subsequently discovered that Lisa had a genetic heart condition - along with her siblings, dad and two young children.
She says: “My eldest daughter was three at the time and my youngest was just seven months old.
“It was a complete shock to receive the news and trying to cope with the impact on them, as well as my own future, was difficult.
“Thankfully, I was put in touch with SADS UK, who were able to offer me a lot of support.
“They connected me with other families who were in a similar situation, but further along in the journey they helped to arrange a defibrillator in the house for my daughters, along with training my husband and me on how to use it and do CPR.”
InXpress’ association with SADS UK has meant a defibrillator has now been installed where Lisa works - and the company is eager to fund more.
“Knowing InXpress have funded another defibrillator definitely gives me peace of mind,” Lisa says.
“Knowing there is one within the business park where I work, in easy access of both a hotel and a school, as well as the offices, is really important to me and the thousands of adults and children living with this condition, whether they know it yet or not.”
ActionCOACH boosts children’s cancer charity coffers
“The impact of this partnership is far reaching”
Children with Cancer UK lost 40 per cent of its funding in 2020 because of the pandemic, impacting both the research and welfare projects it supports and delivers.
However, the charity has recently received a welcome financial boost, thanks to ActionCOACH.
During September – which was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – the ticket price of all the company’s business coaching seminars was donated to Children with Cancer UK, which came to over £8,000.
In total, the ActionCOACH UK network of 200-plus coaches has raised around £36,000 for the charity.
Julie Wagstaff, UK co-founder of ActionCOACH, says: “I think everyone has been affected by cancer at some point in their lifetime. But childhood cancers are particularly agonising to encounter and it’s a shocking statistic that on average 12 children and young people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer every day.”
The leading cause of death in children between one and 14, around 4,500 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer annually in the UK.
Survivors can face a lifetime of serious health issues because of the intensive treatment they have to undergo, so the charity’s funds also pay for research into new therapies.
“We’re so grateful for the fantastic support of ActionCOACH,” said Cliff O’Gorman, CEO of Children with Cancer.