Last updated on March 1st, 2016 at 02:10 pm
I was asked to write a piece about Shoe Zone’s fundraising for BBC Children in Need 2014, because apparently I was the most excited about in our office. I have to agree, I was/am very excited and proud of our achievements and it’s difficult not to smile when Pudsey mania is everywhere. That big yellow bear gives people inspiration to go crazy and wild in the name of charity. There is dressing up, face painting, challenges, as well as a million other ways to raise money to help many disadvantaged children throughout the UK.
The background work….
For us, the preparation started early in the year, when we started designs on official Pudsey Bear slippers, or Pudseyfeet as they have become known. We wanted to create a novelty product that celebrated our favourite bear, but would also appeal to our fabulous customers. Months of design, receiving samples and numerous tweaks followed, and when the final product landed on our desks in the Summer, we loved them. There was such a buzz in the office! Now, of course we couldn’t have a super duper Pudsey product and not have point of sale to show it off. So, we designed posters, web graphics and in stores graphics to highlight (in my opinion) the coolest slippers ever made.
Raising money in store…
So with the slippers made, point of sale printed and sent to stores, I would like to say the hard work was over at that point, but it had hardly begun. Now came the task of raising money in stores as we couldn’t simply sell the slippers and that’s it. We gave the stores free reign to fundraise in any way they liked and believe me they embraced the fundraising spirit and really went to town. We had triathlons, fancy dress, decorated cash desks, mini music concerts, leg waxing, sponsored this and that’s. The money was trickling in and the photos being sent to the Marketing department were a delight. It never ceases to amaze us how our staff get so behind BBC Children in Need. It’s a cause that touches everyone and one which everyone loves to be a part of.
Raising money at Head Office…
Before you think Head Office got away with the silly activities, I better fill you in on the amazing day we all organised at Shoe Zone HQ. In October, to kick off the company fundraising , we had a day of fun filled fundraising, which included Tannoy Bingo (usual bingo, but numbers are announced over the Tannoy system), a raffle (with prizes donated by our lovely suppliers), guess how many sweets in the jar, lucky dip, a quiz and the crème-de-la-crème Directors versus Employees challenges. What is this I hear you cry??!! Well, basically we put a team of employees together to compete in various challenges against the Director’s team. Each time the employees win a challenge, the directors dig deep and donate. Now, these are not your average challenges, as they are all suggested by the employees and put together by our In-House solicitor, Lee (who takes great pleasure in ensuring the employees strangest activities take place). We had hula-hooping (employees won) a karaoke competition (employees won), welly wanging (Directors Won) piggy back relay racing (employees won), cereal box game (employees won), egg roulette (employees won) and so on and so on. You can probably see a pattern emerging and the day ended with the Employees winning all but one of the events. YEAH!!!. The Directors were fabulous sports as they reached into their wallets and parted with their cash to add to our total.
So to skip forward to the reason we all do this and get so excited, it got to appeal night week. I was so giddy I could hardly contain myself. I have to admit, not much regular work was done by my team and I because we were so busy writing daily updates to the stores, keeping in touch with everyone and working out the ever increasing totals. By Wednesday we had to inform BBC Children in Need of the amount we were pledging so they could add it to the total on the appeal show Friday night. We had reached a staggering £125k and with some in depth calculations we decided £200k was entirely possible as we are going to continue fundraising money throughout the year. EEEK!!! I hoped we could make it!
By Friday the money was coming in at speed, as we prepared updates throughout the day. With each figure being sent through, we could hardly believe the jumps we were making. By 10am we were on £139k and then at 3:30pm almost £147k WOW! The £200k was definitely in sight. With our pledge confirmed and everyone packed up at work for the day it was time to head home and watch the magical evening unfold (wearing my Pudseyfeet slippers of course).
A mere twenty minutes into the show, my phone was going crazy with texts, emails and calls off everyone else excited to potentially see Shoe Zone on the TV. We had employee’s attending the various shows throughout the country and they were all letting me know how they were getting on. By this point I think I had cried at least twice and there was still hours to go. I just couldn’t contain myself…with all the hard work we had all put in and then sitting and watching the extremely emotional videos of the families benefitting from the money, it was heart-wrenching! I felt honoured to be part of it and to be working with great colleagues to make a difference. Just as I thought I had composed myself I sat back to listen to The Script play in the Queen Vic and bang, there we were, Shoe Zone is on the TV. If my phone wasn’t going crazy before, it certainly was now. Amazing! We had all worked together and made that happen and I couldn’t put into words how proud I was of our team.
I continued to watch the show (right to the very end I may add) and cried a few more times, often at the same videos. The evening ended with a record breaking £32.6 million, fabulous! That money is going to make such a difference to so many children benefitting from some amazing projects in the UK.
To all my colleagues and our amazing customers at Shoe Zone, thank you for going above and beyond once again. You are all Pudsey’s Heroes to me!!
Let’s Keep Fundraising!!
By Amy, Store Marketing Manager