What’s my favourite time of year? Well, apart from Christmas, it has to be the time when the wonderful results of the fundraising from the previous Michael Josephson Charity Ball begin to kick in. Of course logistically there does tend to be a small gap, but spring time is when a flurry of donations to a range of hugely worthwhile causes tends to hit down, and this season has been no different.
We had a bumper year at the last Ball, alongside amazing guests which included friends, family, work connections and the likes of Dame Joan Collins, Christopher Biggins, Paul Scholes and Torvil and Dean, we were able to raise an astonishing £750K for the beneficiary charities. This could not have been possible without sponsorship from Robertson, Beaverbrooks, Boohoo, Elf on the Shelf, Fastdox, Network Space, Stocks 2015 Ltd and the Stoller Charitable Trust.
And I’ve been lucky enough to have recently donated to three causes that are massively close to my heart.
In March I had an day; due to recent events I decided to channel £25K of the funds from the Ball to the Red Cross, to support the children and families of Ukraine. We’ve all seen the continuing, terrifying images on our screens, I know I can’t change the world but I truly believe we need to do whatever we can. The Red Cross is part of the DEC (Disaster Emergency Committee) and it’s one of the best ways you can help.
Then, in early April, I presented the pupils at Green Fold Special School in Bolton with the Variety Sunshine Coach. The majority of kids at the school have autism, however some have profound physical and medical needs with life limiting conditions. The coach will be used for offsite trips, residential trips and sports competitions. The coach will also be used to get the kids into the community (things like trips to supermarkets, parks and restaurants), which helps them learn how to cope with the world, for residential visits, and to travel to sports competitions – which are important for inclusion opportunities and life experiences. We’ll be showcasing the coach outside the Hilton Hotel in Deansgate at the November 2022 Ball – a great way of showing guests just how worthwhile their donation are.
Later on in April I donated £10K of the funds to GMYN (Greater Manchester Youth Network), so that they can organise a really big outdoor activity residential event for 40 of their young people. GMYN is committed to help young people aged 13-25 transition to adulthood feeling skilled, supported and positive. Their focus is supporting young people who face significant challenges, including those with experience of the care system; special educational needs and disabilities (SEND); and social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) challenges. The trip will build young people’s aspirations and resilience and help them develop their confidence and life skills, and also introduce them to new and exciting outdoor and adventure activities. The residential would provide much needed respite for some young people who are living very chaotic or isolated lifestyles.
Then, this week it was time for Santa to arrive early! £5K from the Michael Josephson Charity Ball 2021 was donated to The Toy Appeal, which is dedicated to “Give a Child a Christmas” and provide a sack of toys to children, aged 0 – 17 years old, who are living in poverty. The donation to the 2022 Christmas Toy Appeal will help ensure over 10,000 disadvantaged children across the Northwest will have a sack of presents to open on Christmas morning, I am so happy about this. Every child deserves a happy Christmas.
I want everyone who is involved in my Balls to know how much I appreciate them, and for them to see how valuable their contributions are.