Northern Ireland’s SPAR retailers have raised an amazing £500,000 for Marie Curie, contributing a whopping quarter of SPAR’s UK-wide fundraising milestone of £2 million, announced this week.
Marie Curie has been a charity partner of the brand across the UK since 2017, with stores rallying above and beyond for the leading end of life charity, most notably in the most challenging of times throughout the pandemic.
The £2 million milestone is the equivalent of 100,000 hours of care from a Marie Curie nurse in the community, however retailers have offered their support to the charity in ways that go beyond the pounds and pennies.
One such retailer is Peter McBride, owner of 13 SPAR stores across Counties Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh, who regularly supports his local Marie Curie nurses in the community. During the pandemic, Peter and his team honoured local community nurses on International Nurses’ Day, gifting them with hampers and tokens to show their appreciation. Peter recently met his own fundraising milestone for the charity, handing over a cheque for £100,000 earlier this year.
Paddy Doody, Sales and Marketing Director at Henderson Group which owns the SPAR brand in Northern Ireland commented; “From supporting the annual Great Daffodil Appeal to creating the biggest Blooming Great Tea Party in over 200 of our stores, SPAR NI has gone above and beyond for Marie Curie since the partnership began in 2017.
“When fundraising events were shut down overnight in 2020, we developed new initiatives which kept retailers and shoppers engaged, encouraging new and safe ways of supporting Marie Curie. The Pick Me Up Picnic raised an incredible £18,000 in the summer of 2020, our retailers hosted Go Yellow days with their teams to maximise fundraising opportunities, we sold Marie Curie face coverings raising £26,000 and of course we have our Christmas sandwich range, from which a donation is made to Marie Curie with every purchase.”
The Group’s efforts towards effective fundraising strategies was recognised at the recent Marie Curie UK Fundraising Excellence Awards 2021, where Henderson’s was named Marie Curie Cause Related Marketing Partner of the Year.
Conor O’Kane, Senior Partnership Manager at Marie Curie in Northern Ireland added; “We are so proud of our Northern Ireland partnership with SPAR as they are so committed to our common cause and always go the extra mile. For our small corner of the UK to raise over a quarter of this £2M milestone total says it all.
“We have had a lot of fun with SPAR NI retailers since 2017, from cake smashing with national treasure Olivia Nash while launching the return of the in-store Blooming Great Tea Parties in the summer, to developing our own innovative fundraising strategies, joining the teams at Balmoral Show and being part of their fantastic 60th anniversary celebrations this year. We are so thankful and look forward to continuing the partnership with more success in the coming months.”
Throughout 2021, SPAR NI marked 60 years in Northern Ireland with a series of initiatives and ensured Marie Curie was part of the celebrations.
Paddy continued; “We have been part of our communities here in Northern Ireland for 60 years, serving those who need us most, just like Marie Curie and their nurses.
“We made sure Marie Curie was a part of our celebrations, so we invited our shoppers to celebrate our 60th anniversary with us and a slice of enjoy local cakes for their own Blooming Great Tea Parties. For every cake purchased, a donation was made to our charity partners and the whole initiative raised over £50,000. We are looking forward to marking SPAR’s 60 years in NI with a charity ball in aid of Marie Curie, when it is safe to do so in 2022.”
The £500,000 raised in Northern Ireland stays in Northern Ireland, providing vital community nursing care, funds towards support services and campaigning for better end of life care with Marie Curie.