It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Agency Christmas cards always tend to remind us of when you were in primary school and your mum would write out 30 cards, one for every member of your class and all you’d do is sign your name at the bottom, handwriting and patience getting progressively worse as time went on, and by the time you’d gotten to the very last person you were so far beyond caring that the spirit of Christmas was long forgotten.

For us, agency Christmas cards lack that sense of care and heart that encompasses this time of year (plus, think of the environmental effect of all those cards).

As a result, and in the name of Challenging Thinking, every year staff at Born + Raised are each given 20 quid (the total of which would’ve been spent on these agency cards) with the aim of spreading some joy in as creative a manner as possible.

This year I decided to get my craft on, and spent my 20 quid on a tonne (not literally) of felt, ribbons, stuffing (the non-edible kind), bells and thread and set to work sewing reindeer tree decorations. In order to spread some joy, I placed a reindeer on each of my neighbours’ door handles for them to put on their tree. With the rest I decided to see if I could flog a few and give the money to the British Heart Foundation. I certainly didn’t expect as much interest as I had, with one flying his way over to New Zealand right now! All in all I made £40 for the charity.

Joanne decided to use her £20 to support the Mental Health Foundation, who are going to use it to fund a bursary for a school to deliver part of their Peer Education Project. This project is delivered in schools by the charity to help kids understand mental health issues. The charity is not yet working with a Sheffield school so is going to use Jo’s donation to start the very first project in the area! She chose this charity in the hope of improving the understanding of, and support for, mental health issues so that more people are able to cope without resorting to drugs or suicide which have affected both her friends and family in the past year.

Harriet also decided to get creative with her 20 quid and made loads of Christmas decorations from scrabble letters, with all money raised going to Prostate Cancer UK in memory of her grandad who she lost earlier this year.

After recently losing his nan, Founder + MD Andy used his 20 quid to make a donation to Dementia UK, as the support that the charity offers not only to the individuals, but their friends and family is extraordinary.

It takes a village to raise a child, so this year Kat has spent her 20 quid on spreading some community love. Relocating your family is stressful and at times very hard, but since meeting the neighbours on her new street, things have felt very different and she finally feels like she is creating a home. One of Kat’s new neighbours is starting up a business making Jamaican patties (something her family really missed from living in Brixton!) So Kat spent her 20 quid with her and shared out the patties to her neighbours.

Anto also doubled his 20 quid and donated the lot to Macmillan Cancer Charity: an organisation very close to his heart.

In order to remind people that Christmas isn’t all about splashing the cash, Sam spent his 20 quid on having a number of posters printed and stuck them up around town.

Yvette gave her 20 quid to the Microloan Foundation, an organisation dedicated to helping the poorest people in rural Africa to transform their lives. In countries where women and girls are often marginalised, the Microloan Foundation gives them status and confidence to grow within their own communities. Yvette’s donation will provide a woman in Malawi with business training for a whole year.

Andrew donated his £20 to the Miscarriage Association: a charity very personal to him and his family.

With his 20 quid, Chris decided to spread some positive mental health messages at what can be a pretty tough time for some people. He loaded up a number of mini Christmas trees with messages on tags and left them around town for people to take whichever sentiment they needed.

Tom donated his money to Assist Sheffield, who help asylum seekers in the city by providing accommodation and assistance to stay in the country – avoiding war and persecution back home.

With her £20, Kirsty bought ingredients to make a healing balm for parched winter skin. She’s donating the £52.50 she made to local charity Ben’s Centre.

Grace created a number of festive-themed hampers and delivered them to her neighbours to thank them for all their help this year.

Maddi used her money to buy a bunch of Christmas goodies and toiletries and donated them to her local food bank to help support families in need.

With his first Born + Raised 20 quid, Mark gave the money to Sheffield Music Academy who provide a load of great services to support young musicians.

Claire and her friends are embarking on a 100 mile walk over 5 days in April 2020, for the charity Walk the Walk, raising money for breast cancer, and she donated her 20 quid to their fundraising efforts.

The number of children living in poverty now equates to 9 in an average class of 30, so Jack used his £20 to become a Secret Santa for a vulnerable child this Christmas with Action for Children. The money will go towards a hot meal or a present that they would otherwise have gone without.

Louise donated her money to the NSPCC, helping to fund essential help such as volunteers who answer calls to Childline at this busy time of year. Additionally, Lou wanted to bring some Christmas magic to the children in her life so printed out a number of personalised letters from Santa from the NSPCC website and posted them out to her friends’ little ones.

Steve has been a member of The Woodland Trust for many years, so this year decided to donate his £20 plus a further £20 of his own to have 2 trees planted in Old Wood, a beautiful new Woodland Trust site in Lincolnshire.

Diana has decided to donate her money to Guide Dogs for the blind, inspired by Barley and Ken’s story.

After her friend’s daughter was diagnosed, Carol decided to use her 20 quid to raise money for Cervical Cancer by hosting a cheese and wine night at her house, with each person bringing a bottle of wine, a piece of cheese and paying £5 entry. Carol also did a raffle for those who could not attend and overall raised £266 for the charity!

Howard and Stephen clubbed together to raid charity shops of their warm winter clothing, then donated all of it back to a homeless shelter in a double charity helping.

AJ, Tamaris, Charlotte,  Abbas and Gemma donated their money to Grimm & Co based in Rotherham. The organisation offers support to under-resourced kids aged 7-18 with confidence skills around creativity and writing. In addition to the donation, AJ collected a bunch of books to put on Grimm & Co’s wall of free books that the children can take home, no strings attached.

Finally, on behalf of all of us here at Born + Raised I’d like to wish our clients, suppliers, friends and family a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.