Why we chose Birmingham St Mary’s as our ‘Charity of the Year’ At Birmingham St Mary’s, we work with a number of corporate partners so that we can increase awareness of our Hospice across the city. By working with like-minded companies, we are able to create partnerships that have a positive impact, helping us to make a difference to even more local families living with terminal illness. Gowling WLG is just one of our fantastic corporate partners this year. A multinational law firm – with a local office in the heart of Birmingham city centre – Gowling WLG has had a brilliant year promoting and supporting our charity. From giant chocolate eggs to a 140 mile cycle, it’s certainly been a year of exciting fundraising challenges. Here, Gowling WLG’s corporate responsibility managers, Katie Rothwell and Amy Tabari, tell us why they picked our Hospice as their local ‘Charity of the Year’. Our company, Gowling WLG, supports three charities every year; a national charity, one local to our London office, and another local to our Birmingham office. With our local charities, we ask it to be just that – local. We want a charity that is close to our office and is making a big difference within our communities. Charities are nominated and voted for by our employees, as it’s important that we work with an organisation that really resonates with our people. This year, Birmingham St Mary’s was the overwhelming winner of our vote, with an incredible 50% of our staff choosing it. Given the sheer amount of people who voted for it, it is clear to see that the Hospice is a place that has touched the lives of many. Since working with the charity, we’ve had an incredibly varied and brilliantly fun year of fundraising – with plenty more opportunities still to come! Some of our biggest fundraisers so far have been tough, sporting challenges. In August, 16 members of our team took on the ’24 Peaks Lakeland Challenge’ – a testing event that involves climbing 24 Lake District Peaks within 24 hours total walking time. Later in September, 17 other employees participated in a 140 mile cycle from the coast of West Cumbria to the dramatic landscapes of the northern Pennines, a popular event known as the ‘Coast to Coast Cycling Challenge’. As if these challenges weren’t testing enough, we actually promoted them within our offices by hosting a ‘Walkers vs. Cyclist’ event. This involved treadmills, static cycling machines and a lot of sweaty employees battling it out to be crowned the winning team. It was a fantastic event and really helped to rally up support for those trekking up the peaks and cycling along the coast. Another popular event we hosted was our ‘Big Quiz’. We host a quiz every year but for the first time ever, we dedicated a round to our charity partners. Quizzes are always a great way of drumming up some good-natured, competitive fun amongst employees – especially for lawyers. You can’t get lawyers involved in a quiz without there being some debate about the answers! Alongside our competitive events, we’ve also hosted some delicious food-related fundraisers because who doesn’t love a tasty treat, especially when it’s for a good cause? Something that really got our staff talking was the giant Cadbury’s Easter Egg ‘Guess the Weight’ competition. It sat in our reception for several weeks and was a huge success. We’ve also had numerous ‘Samosa Sales’ – an event that is always highly anticipated within our office! Thinking of creative fundraising ideas has been so much easier with Charlotte’s help. Charlotte is Birmingham St Mary’s corporate partnerships manager and she has been absolutely brilliant in coming up with events and helping to organise them. She is always enthusiastic about our partnership and regularly comes along to our fundraisers to offer help and inform staff about the Hospice. With the charity’s support, we’ve raised an impressive £7,000 so far and hope to raise even more later this year. However, working with a charity isn’t just about raising vital funds. Earlier in the summer, some of our charity champions visited Birmingham St Mary’s to gain a greater understanding of the care and support they provide to local families living with terminal illness. Seeing first-hand the fantastic work the Hospice does, as well as the impact it has on the people and families it cares for, was a humbling experience. Witnessing that allowed us to see how our hard work and sponsorship was making a difference, making it all so much more worthwhile. Since working with the Hospice, one of the most surprising things is how positive a place it is. One of the first things that normally springs to mind when you mention a hospice, is that it must be a very sad and dark place – yet our experience of Birmingham St Mary’s has been the complete opposite. Instead, it’s clear to see that it is a caring and uplifting organisation, full of hope and dignity. That’s why we’re proud to be its charity partner this year. We’ve got lots of exciting events still to come, from a carol concert to a ‘Christmas Jumper’ day. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the Hospice and we hope that our support will ensure that the best experience of living is available to everyone leading up to and at the end of life. Thank you to Katie and Amy from Gowling WLG for sharing their incredible story. If you’re a business who has been inspired by this post, why not get in touch with our corporate partnership team to see how we can work together. Contact Charlotte Anson at: [email protected] or 0121 472 1191. To find out more about Gowling WLG, take a look at its website.