Champion’s golden jubilee: £60,000 raised in charity fundraiser

Champion Accountants has donated more than £60,000 to a string of local and national charities as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.

The leading North West accountancy group set the goal of raising £50,000 across all four of its offices to mark 50 years in business. After totting up all the donations, including gift-aided contributions from staff, it is clear the Champion team lived up to its name by smashing that target with a grand total of £60,690.94.

A total of 13 charities have received donations thanks to the Champion team’s fundraising efforts. Staff have taken on everything from the Three Peaks Challenge to office bake sales and coffee mornings to raise funds, and each nominated local charities to support.

Champion’s Manchester office nominated two charities dedicated to helping sick children and their families. Kidscan is a children’s cancer research charity, while Francis House – a Champion client – is a hospice providing care and support for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families. Each charity received a donation of £5,000 from Champion.

David Ireland, chief executive officer of Francis House, said: “We are really grateful to have received this generous donation from Champion. We are reliant on donations to continue our work supporting the families of children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, so the support is invaluable.

“Champion has been our chosen accountant since the inception of Francis House, and the personal service, particularly through Ged Cosgrove, has meant that Francis House has been able to steer its way through financial ups and downs. Champion ensured that during the pandemic and subsequent financial challenges, we were able to continue to provide a seamless service to families.

“Francis House has also benefitted from the personal service received from the Champion IT department, who manage our computer systems since they were introduced into the hospice. On behalf of the 550 families that we support from across the North West, I would like to express our thanks.”

Staff in Blackpool opted to support their client N-Vision, the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, donating £2,150. Streetlife, a youth work charity that provides emergency shelter and support to vulnerable and homeless young people aged 16-25 in Blackpool and the surrounding areas, was chosen as a second beneficiary by the Blackpool team.

Wendy Jackson, finance officer at Street Life, said: “We have shared our thanks with the Champion team, and were very pleased to hear about the many different fundraising ideas that helped raise the money.

“We support over 300 different young people each year at our emergency night shelter and inspirational day centre in Blackpool. When these young people are ready to move on in life we support them with securing their own accommodation. Champion’s donation will help us to provide them with home starter packs which comprise various items, including kettles, toasters, cutlery, crockery, pans, microwaves, quilts and pillows.”

Ruth Lambert, chief executive at N-Vision, added: “Champion’s donation has helped us to provide an interactive table; something the team here has long hoped for to help us improve the care we give and the experience of our blind and partially sighted residents and clients.

“Fundraising since Covid has been near-impossible, and so Champion’s donation is very gratefully received. It makes a huge difference not just to the community we serve, but to our staff. There is a real feel-good factor in knowing that we are giving the very best care that we possibly can.”

Meanwhile, in Chester, staff donated £850 each to three charities. Claire House is a children’s hospice that helps seriously and terminally ill children, enabling them to live life to the full and supporting their families. Nightingale House supports adults with life-limiting conditions, providing specialist palliative care. Meanwhile, Neuro Therapy Centre supports people with long-term neurological conditions and supports their carers to live well with their condition through tailored exercise and wellbeing programmes. Claire House and Neuro Therapy Centre are clients of Champion’s Chester office.

Dan Halliday, corporate fundraising manager at Claire House, commented: “Thank you so much to Champion Accountants for such a generous donation to Claire House Children’s Hospice, it really means the world to our children and families. We are able to offer care and support to those families who are going through the toughest of times because of the local community supporting us. A donation of this size could fund a week of Butterfly support when a child has sadly passed away.”

Sarah Povey, corporate partnership lead at Nightingale House, added: “We were thrilled to hear about the fundraising activities of the Champion team – what a brilliant way to bring colleagues together! It’s always great to engage with new funding partners and we are delighted with the donation of £850, which is enough to fund a child bereavement woodland day, supporting children after bereavement as part of our community outreach. It costs £4million to run the hospice each year, only 16% of which comes from statutory funding, so we rely on companies like Champion to support us and we’re very grateful for their contribution.”

“We’d like to thank Champion’s Chester office for choosing to support Neuro Therapy Centre in their anniversary year. We don’t receive any automatic funding to support the centre, so every bit of fundraising makes a real difference to the services we are able to provide for people with neurological conditions. The number of people wanting to access our support is always growing and the need to grow our services to meet this demand is always there. Fundraising plays a vital role in us being able to support people and make a life-changing difference in how they are able to manage their condition. In the last couple of years, we have been able to grow our services to support people through online services as well as increase our exercise, physiotherapy and counselling support offered at the centre. We will reach a landmark anniversary ourselves in a couple of years – our 40th – and we are excited about the impact our work has in the region,” said Jane Johnston-Cree, CEO at Neuro Therapy Centre.

Finally, the Preston office donated £1,800 to Southport Foodbank, part of the Trussell Trust. Richard Owens, CEO at Compassion Acts, the charity that runs Southport Foodbank, commented: “Donations like this are vital for us. To hear that employees at Champion pulled together so well to reach this impressive fundraising target is really heartening. When people come together for a good cause it is such a positive thing.

“We use funds like this to run our operations and it has been so needed. In the run-up to Christmas, our Foodbanks were twice as busy and we are serving twice as many people at our food pantries than this time last year. Fundraisers such as Champion are the way in which we can invest in advice work so that we can sit with people and help them access the right benefits or work on debts together, so that they don’t even need food support at all. That would be our ultimate aim, to not need foodbanks at all.

“Finally, we know that the mental health and poverty cycle is a vicious circle and we need to get smarter at intervening, so donations like the one from Champion will support our activities and groups which tackle isolation and low self-confidence.”

Alongside local charities, the accountancy group’s efforts have also helped national charities, including Samaritans, Macmillan and Bernardo’s.

Ged Cosgrove, group managing partner of Champion Accountants, added: “We knew £50,000 was an ambitious target but we were determined to mark our 50th anniversary in style – half a century in business is a big deal!

“As the year went on, the scale of the challenge became even greater as the cost of living crisis began to bite. However, our clients and partners have been very generous with their donations and our team have been heroes with their dedication to raising money with so many initiatives across the year.

“We felt it was important to allow the team at each office to nominate their local charities to benefit from the £60,690.94 raised. We’re delighted to be supporting charities that will benefit so many families in the North West, now and in the future. We know the charities will put the money to good use!”

Ged added “Every year, we provide significant pro bono work for charities across the region, and it has given us great pride to also be able to make a string of donations. The longer we work with these charities, the more our respect for them grows. We know that they will make the very best use of every penny donated, changing lives along the way.”