Date:03 July 2012
Toyshop customers donate their cash half a million times for children’s hospitals
Customers of toy shop chain The Entertainer have raised over £150,000 for charity in less than a year by donating their electronic ‘spare change’ half a million times. The donations, made through Pennies the electronic charity box, are already helping patients at four children’s hospitals.
The majority of the money raised by The Entertainer customers is shared equally between: Liverpool’s Alder Hey Imagine Appeal; Birmingham Children’s Hospital; Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal which fundraises for Bristol Children’s Hospital; and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. The remainder is shared amongst other UK charities.
The Entertainer was the first high street shop to enable the Pennies micro-donation scheme last July and saw customers embrace the scheme straight away. The generosity of The Entertainer’s customers is clear with nearly half of those given the option to donate choosing to do so.
Managing Director, Gary Grant, said: “People are inclined to be generous, and our customers have proved that by exceeding all expectations to raise this fantastic sum. It has been tremendous to see the donations come in so quickly and easily with the electronic charity box. More money was raised via Pennies in the first week than our traditional charity boxes would normally raise all year. In fact nearly 75 times more!”
The Entertainer is one of the largest independent retailers of toys in the UK with 69 stores across the nation and plans to open new branches throughout the year. Owners Gary and Catherine Grant’s experience in buying and selling toys since 1981 is key to the on-going growth of the company.
Christine Done, Head of Fundraising for the Imagine Appeal said, “The Pennies initiative is such a fantastic way to raise funds for the busiest children’s hospital in the UK; Alder Hey IMAGINE aims to give our young patients the best possible care and we are very grateful that The Entertainer has chosen to support our charity and for the generosity of their customers. It’s an amazing achievement how much they have raised in a year all from pennies!”
Alison Hutchinson, CEO of The Pennies Foundation, which created Pennies said: “We have always known that pennies are powerful and have been really excited to see how quickly The Entertainer’s customers have embraced Pennies. With more than half a million individual donations totalling £150,000 it truly demonstrates how quickly those pennies can add up to make a real difference to sick children’s lives. ”
Pennies is already available in nine other national retailers including Domino’s Pizza, Zizzi restaurants and Screwfix as well as a number of smaller merchants, and momentum is growing as more and more retailers switch on Pennies.
So far more than 2.3 million consumer donations have been received through Pennies, raising over £580,000 for more than 30 UK charities showing how pennies add up to make a meaningful difference.
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Notes to Editors:
For further information contact:
Liz Kearsley, Communications and Marketing Officer
Telephone: 07814 047 175
Chris Done, Imagine Appeal
Telephone: 0151 252 5395
Rima Taha, Bell Pottinger Consumer
Telephone: 0207 861 2525
Joseph Bradfield, Bell Pottinger Consumer
Telephone: 0207 861 2525About Pennies:
The Pennies Foundation, a registered charity, has created Pennies, the electronic charity box. We’re all familiar with the idea of dropping our change into the charity box sitting on the shop counter. The electronic charity box is exactly the same idea but it works instead when we pay by card in store, online and increasingly by mobile. That means that it works just as well for online or high-street shopping.
Pennies makes giving to charity easy and affordable for all: customers can simply press ‘YES’ on the Chip & PIN machine in-store, or click the ‘Donate’ button online. The request is for micro-donations – literally a few pennies (1p-99p) - either by rounding up or topping up. The Pennies Foundation then ensures that all the donations are received and distributed to UK charities.
The retailer nominates the charity or charities to benefit from the majority of the amount collected with the remainder shared amongst other UK charities which cover a range of causes like cancer, children, homelessness and the elderly.
It’s quick: one small step in the payment process, it’s the consumers’ choice and it’s private too. There’s no pressure or commitment to give and every penny goes to charity.
Micro-donations are powerful. There are 43 million card holders in the UK today, and around 1 million card transactions an hour. If the UK’s card holders donated 30p once a month well over £150m would be raised for charity every year.
To date Pennies has supported more than 30 charities, large and small, with some receiving significant sums. Pennies is already available in ten national retailers including Domino’s Pizza, Zizzi restaurants, Travelodge, GO Outdoors and Screwfix as well as a number of smaller merchants, and momentum is growing as more and more retailers join the Pennies movement.
For more information on Pennies please visit:www.pennies.org.uk
@pennies_orgukhttp://www.facebook.com/PenniesElectronicCharityBoxAbout the Alder Hey Imagine Appeal:
About Birmingham Children’s Hospital:
- Alder Hey, Europe’s busiest children’s hospital, provides family-focused care for around 270,000 young patients every year and is responsible for the health of more children than any other hospital in the UK.
- Alder Hey is the first choice provider of children’s treatment for around 80% of the UK’s healthcare commissioners.
- Alder Hey Imagine Appeal was launched in October 2005 with the support of Yoko Ono, who is Honorary Patron of the charity. It aims to support the pioneering work of the hospital by funding research, improving the environment, providing facilities for patients and their families and buying the very latest medical equipment.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital treats around 250,000 children each year, serving a growing West Midlands population of 5.3 million, of which 1.4 million are under 18. Founded in 1862, the hospital is the only children’s hospital in the UK to offer both an Emergency Department and the full range of specialist clinical services.
Many patients also come from further afield because the hospital is a nationally designated centre for cardiac surgery; surgery of the face and skull; the skin blistering condition epodermolysisbullosa; eye cancer; inherited metabolic disorders; and liver and small bowel transplants. Birmingham Children’s Hospital also has a world-renowned Intensive Care Unit, Paediatric Clinical Research Facility and Burns Unit.
The hospital relies on donations to provide art and play facilities for children and teens, improve the care environment for patients and their families, repair and restore their largely Victorian buildings, purchase leading-edge medical equipment and fund research and development.
For example, the Renal Unit organises an outward bound trip every year whereby nursing staff and fully qualified supervisors take patients to experience things they may never have done, and gain some independence – this costs £5000 per year. The Cancer Unit is continually looking to purchase specialist equipment to help with the smooth running of the wards, such as infusion pumps and high dependency monitors which cost £1500 each.
So by giving just a few pence at the Entertainer Stores, you could make a positive impact to the lives of children, and their families at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. To find out more information please visit: www.bch.org.ukAbout Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, The Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal fundraises to support sick children and babies at Bristol Children’s Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Founded in 1995, the Appeal has raised over £18 million towards the first purpose built children’s hospital in the UK and continues to support by funding pioneering medical care and equipment, arts, music and play programmes and accommodation for the sickest children and their families.
Bristol Children’s Hospital is one of the UK’s leading children’s hospitals and treats young patients from across the South West and South Wales regions with life-threatening illnesses and serves as the paediatric intensive care centre for the whole region. The hospital is the regions specialist centre for a range of services including cardiac and renal treatment, complex surgeries and bone marrow transplants, treating over 100,000 patients every year.
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal needs your help to ensure that we can continue to support sick children from the South West and beyond. Find out how you can help by visiting www.grandappeal.org.ukAbout Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity:
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust is the country’s leading centre for treating sick children, with the widest range of specialists under one roof. With the UCL Institute of Child Health, we are the largest centre for paediatric research outside North America and play a key role in training children’s health specialists for the future.
Our charity needs to raise £50 million every year to help rebuild and refurbish Great Ormond Street Hospital, buy vital equipment and fund pioneering research. With your help we provide world class care to our very ill children and their families. www.gosh.nhs.uk About The Entertainer:
The Entertainer is the largest independent retailer of toys in the UK, with 30 years’ experience. The first store was opened in Amersham, Buckinghamshire by Gary and Catherine Grant, who are now the proud owners of over 69 stores. Experience in buying and selling toys since 1981 is key to the ongoing growth of the company.About Gary Grant:
After leaving school at 16 with an ‘O’ level in maths he took a job working in a local bike shop and was soon running it. At the same time he was building up a business buying and selling skateboards. As the skateboard market declined he found that taking out the bearings and selling them on for other purposes was a lucrative sideline.
It wasn’t long before Gary’s small but significant deals enabled Gary and his wife Catherine to secure the lease on a shop called The Pram & Toy Bar in Amersham, despite knowing nothing about either prams or toys! In May 1981, the shop was renamed The Entertainer. Four years later they bought their second shop in Beaconsfield and by April 1991 had opened their third store in a shopping centre in Slough. Having identified a clear and distinctive toy retail proposition, Gary has continued to leverage the unique format through opening more stores to become the UK’s largest independent toy retailer with a vision to achieve a five per cent share of the UK toy market.
Gary loves buying toys and is still at the heart of range and product selection for The Entertainer and he ensures that the family-feel nature of The Entertainer is reflected in The Entertainer’s product selection. Gary is actively involved in every part of the business and takes a keen interest in The Entertainer’s merchandising and store format.
Gary shows a keen interest in people engaged in community support activities and is well known for applying his Christian principles to the way he conducts his personal and business life.
Gary is a social entrepreneur, using his business skills and enterprise to help smaller charities. In 2002, Gary and Catherine founded Restore Hope Latimer, a charity aimed atgiving children and their families an opportunity to spend special time together in the beautiful Chess Valley in the Chilterns. Gary always enjoys welcoming children to The Entertainer Group’s head office near Amersham and has formed a close relationship with several local schools.