As the clocks go back and we get an extra hour this weekend, SPAR NI is encouraging us to think about giving the gift of our time to Marie Curie in the coming months, as the charity appeals for volunteers this Christmas.
SPAR NI has been partnered with Marie Curie since 2017, and has raised over £670,000 so far, with over £160,000 raised in 2022 alone.
As the need for community nursing, and provision of services for those with terminal illnesses to have dignified final days increases, the organisation is in need of volunteers to push their fundraising drive even further.
Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group which owns SPAR in Northern Ireland added; “Festive fundraising can be a huge driver of cash for local charities, so we’re delighted to get behind Marie Curie’s volunteer drive and provide spaces for safe fundraising at our SPAR stores.
“By volunteering to collect in a local SPAR store to support Marie Curie, volunteers will be helping the organisation to bring light and dignity to those at the end of their lives, and their families, in their darkest hour. So we’re appealing for volunteers to step up and give an hour of their day at our stores to help Marie Curie which brings such vital services in our local communities.”
In recent years, in-person fundraising volunteer numbers have dropped, mainly due to the lack of opportunity post-pandemic. Conor O’Kane, Partnership Manager at Marie Curie NI added; “Charitable organisations around the world were hit hard by the pandemic, we’re just incredibly fortunate to have such a robust partnership with SPAR NI, who have gone above and beyond for us in the past two years.”
Michele Button-Stephens is a Marie Curie volunteer from Holywood. She volunteers for the charity as a collection box coordinator in Holywood, and as a collection volunteer in Holywood and East Belfast. Michelle says she would encourage others to consider volunteering for Marie Curie this Christmas; "I enjoy volunteering and collecting for Marie Curie at my local SPAR. The staff are so welcoming, no-one passes without saying hello.
“Collecting gives individuals the opportunity to donate to our charity and what always amazes me is the number of people that do so and their generosity warms my heart. It also gives me the chance to chat and listen to each of their personal Marie Curie stories. I always go home at the end of the day feeling good. "
SPAR NI has activated a series of fundraising initiatives in recent months, including raising over £57,000 during the recent Blooming Great Tea Party, which took place across over 300 stores in Northern Ireland. Stores also supported the Great Daffodil Appeal this year, with SPAR NI’s Buy a Bunch to Give a Bunch raising over £20,000 throughout the month of March.
Conor continued; “Now that it is safer to have in-person collections and fundraising volunteers back out and about, we’re grateful that SPAR NI is not just providing their shops for our volunteer spots, but is sharing their platform to enable us to shout about how important our services are, and how we need volunteers to help us deliver them across Northern Ireland.
“Just £20 supports an hour of nursing care, and the average amount collected in an hour of volunteering is around £40. Already, that hour given by our volunteers makes a huge difference for those people at home or in our Hospice who are the end of their lives.”
Alongside providing spots for Marie Curie volunteers to fundraise at their stores, SPAR NI will also be donating 10p from each sale of their Christmas sandwich range to the charity, alongside EUROSPAR NI charity partner, Cancer Fund for Children.
SPAR NI’s Festive Marie Curie Appeal will be supported in-store with shelf cards, on shopper leaflets distributed to over 684,000 homes, digital and adshel campaigns, plus content across SPAR NI’s social media platforms.
To volunteer to collect at your local SPAR store for Marie Curie this Christmas, visit spar-ni.co.uk/marie-curie.