This year, as BJC’s Chair of Charity, I wanted to continue to seek out smaller, under-represented charities and campaigns in Bristol to show some BJC love. This was a decision inspired by the success of our Annual Dinner fundraising last year for Emmaus, the charity supporting homeless people that had an AED defibrillator installed outside their Stokes croft base just this month, thanks in part to our donation. Our money elevated a slow campaign relying on fundraising from passionate and enthusiastic, albeit untrained volunteers. The charity told me it might have taken them upwards of another year to reach their target. We helped them much sooner than that.
Our 2022 Christmas Party was in support of The Harbour, a small Bristol charity that offers counselling support services for death, dying and bereavement, and a safe space to spend time. This takes us to, aside from the brilliant fundraising we do, the trustees and volunteers we have placed through BJC this year. Our membership is a hugely useful pool of talented and enthusiastic young people whose professional lives often equip them with the skills needed to be trustees and governors. We have helped The Harbour advertise new treasurer and trustee roles to BJC members, and also placed people with Bristol Women’s Voice, an organisation supporting female victims of domestic abuse and championing gender equality in our community.
This year, we have also supported The Brightwell, a charity that provides support and therapies to people affected by neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, by raising money across the summer at our cricket and boat tour events, as well as at the Bristol Breakfast Rotary Club Dragon Boat Festival and at the charity’s own Christmas wreath-making workshop in December.
Our new ties to Bristol City of Sanctuary continue as the organisation grows to support local employers in reaching out to the local refugee community and helping them find employment. We hope to grow that relationship by assisting in writing ‘how-to’ guides for small companies to help them navigate the employment and immigration paperwork hurdles.
For the past few years, we have partnered with the Marmalade Trust to participate in, what has become, our annual ‘sewing-bee’. We were tasked by the charity to spread some Christmas cheer and make felt decorations for the people who call the trust their family. Previous years have seen us make some festive robins, Santa’s trusty reindeer, and this year a warming Christmas pudding.
Our fundraising for the British Heart Foundation in Bristol continues as well, and I’m looking forward to surpassing our target for Annual Dinner fundraising in March 2023.
Words from Rebecca Stanton, Chair of Charity 22/23