In 2017, the staff at the Heritage Foundation chose Hertfordshire Mind Network as our Charity of the Year. Spurred on by my enthusiasm for baking cakes, coupled with my passion for raising awareness about mental health, I took up the task of heading our fundraising for the year.
We set out with a goal to reach £2000, as the Foundation agreed to match fund anything up to this amount. A crack team was assembled and we set about fundraising, starting with a modest bake sale. We quickly found out that the way to our colleagues’ pockets was through their stomachs and managed to raise £371 using cake alone throughout the year. Another continued success was games of chance, with £372 being donated by staff and the public via quizzes, raffles and sweepstakes.
Our largest break came when local celebrity James Mayhew allowed us to auction the paintings created during his Four Seasons show at the Broadway Theatre in March. Our Creative Programmer, Sue Scott-Davison, tried her hand at auctioneering and secured a massive £1055 for the artworks. The Theatre also came into focus throughout the year, with collections at the Interschool Concert and at Ruby Wax’s Frazzled show raising £283.
In the summer months, our Environmental Landscape Manager, Elizabeth Towler and Steve Howells from the Foundation's Community Partner, ARCH, took the fundraising to the Letchworth Food and Drink Festival. They produced a show garden for the first day of festivities, then on the second day sold the plants, raising a further £623 for Herts Mind.
A total of £2,683 was donated by the public in 2017. Of this, £471 was raised through collection boxes at our venues, including Standalone Farm and the Broadway Cinema and Theatre. To close off the year, the Garden City Chorus kindly performed a Christmas carol concert in the Arcade to help with our fundraising and brought in an excellent £129 in donations.
I’d like to say a big thankyou to everyone who donated this year or gave up their time to help with fundraising. This includes both staff and members of the public who popped a pound in the collection box, bought a raffle ticket or helped with an event.
We raised a total of £3662.09, which with the initial £2,000 match funding means that £5662.09 has been donated to Hertfordshire Mind Network. All of our donations went to help the Letchworth Wellbeing Centre located on Broadway and have helped to set up and run their ‘Pre-Weekend Group’ and provide books and furniture for the centre which was new in 2017.
For 2018, we have chosen to support Herts Young Homeless. With 2017 having been such a success we’re ambitious to raise just as much this year – watch this space!