2023 has been an amazing year at Together for Short Lives, with our supporters continuing to raise vital money and awareness to help the UK’s 99,000 seriously ill children and their families. From a marathon across the Sahara to the launch of our Cost of Living Support Fund for families, here are some highlights from the thousands of ways our supporters have stepped up for seriously ill children and their families.
January – Cost of Living Support Fund
At the start of the year, we had an amazing response from supporters to our emergency Cost of Living appeal. Kickstarted by Morrisons with an incredible donation of £100,000, funders including the MariaMarina Foundation, the Scottish Children’s Lottery Trust, and the Moondance Foundation among others, and generous members of the public, raised over £200,000. This resulted in grants being made to 674 families struggling with the cost of living, allowing them to focus on caring for their child.
Feb – Center Parcs renew their partnership to 2027
In February we shared the exciting news that our longstanding partnership Center Parcs was extended by a further four years. Having raised a phenomenal £1.7m since 2017, we know that Center Parcs colleagues and guests will continue to do amazing things for Together for Short Lives and children’s hospices, including helping more families like Rachel’s create precious memories through their gifted breaks programme.
March – In March We had an Absolute Ball!
As Spring arrived, we put on our glad rags and danced the night away at our Spring Wonderland Ball, hosted by our wonderful Patron, Simon Cowell. The star-studded event, sponsored by Morrisons and in partnership with OK! Magazine, raised over £371,000, helping us reach even more families through our Family Support Hub.
April – Our Supporters Make Great Strides at the London Marathon
Fifteen superhuman runners took on the challenge of a lifetime in April, the London Marathon! Not only did they conquer the world-famous marathon, but they raised an incredible £36,984 between them to help seriously ill children and their families across the country. Read more about one of our brilliant runners in the blog here.
May – Marathon Des Sables runners
May saw three of our brilliant supporters undertake one of the most challenging footraces in the world – the Marathon Des Sables. Spanning six days, the team faced harsh terrain, intense heat, and cooler nights, covering a total of 156 miles – WOW!
June – Our Supporters Step up to the Challenge for Children’s Hospice Week
In June, we marked Children’s Hospice Week with our 99,000 Steps Challenge – a fundraising event where participants take one step for every child in the UK living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. An impressive 59 million steps were conquered by 1,196 supporters, and over £91,000 was raised – that’s 3,640 hours of children’s hospice care. After a strong start from Gravity Active Entertainment, Team Morrisons topped the leader board. We can’t wait to see who steps and raises the most during Children’s Hospice Week 2024!
July – Simply Learning to Talk Project Launch
Thanks to a grant from the Southampton Hospitals Charity, we kicked off the consultation phase of our ‘Simply Learning to Talk’ project, addressing a critical training gap for healthcare professionals. The two-year project will culminate in relevant, practical, and accessible training for professionals, helping them have conversations with families of seriously ill children.
August – Morrisons Blaze a Trail Around the UK
Our partner Morrisons took on an incredibly special challenge in August to raise money across their 500 stores and sites. They welcomed the Together for Short Lives butterfly as it completed a nationwide relay, with colleagues at each store and site aiming to raise £500, before passing the butterfly onto the next. From fancy dress and ice bath challenges to head shaves, raffles and face painting, their fundraising flew to new heights, raising an astonishing £486,170!
September – BGC Charity Day Rings Success!
Our Patron Holly Willoughby and Ambassador Alesha Dixon joined the team at BGC Partners in September, as part of their annual Charity Day, taking to the trading floor to raise vital funds for our Butterfly Fund. The Butterfly Fund gives financial gifts to bereaved families after their children die and has so far helped 1,200 grieving families since 2017.
October – Miss Teen Great Britain Finals, and Mason Mount meets some of our families in Manchester
October saw us heading to the North West for the Miss Teen Great Britain final in Blackpool, and an outreach event in Greater Manchester with our Patron Mason Mount.
This year, Miss Teen Great Britain contestants raised an incredible £40,000. Every penny raised goes such a long way in helping seriously ill children and families at local children’s hospices.
In October we also saw Manchester United footballer, and Patron, Mason Mount meet families in Rochdale at an extra special Halloween event. Alongside meeting Mason, the children and their siblings took part a host of games and craft activities, making memories together.
November – SGN Partnership Launches, and Morrisons Celebrate Another Amazing Fundraising Year
As we entered the colder months, we were so pleased to announce our partnership with gas network company SGN to provide families with vital energy support. With the launch of a dedicated helpline, we can offer families essential advice to navigate the ongoing rise in energy bills, with families from the South East also eligible for energy support vouchers and special items such as warming blankets.
November also saw us enter our third and final year in partnership with Morrisons, and we celebrated the impact of the £6.6m raised so far! We have been blown away by the generosity, creativity and compassion shown by Morrisons colleagues, suppliers and customers across the UK and can’t wait to see what 2024 will bring.
December – Every Moment is a Gift
When the future is uncertain, every moment is a gift. That’s why this month, we launched our Every Moment is a Gift Christmas Appeal, to support seriously ill children and their families throughout the festive period. We are so thankful for the support we’ve seen so far, including from our wonderful Patrons Mason Mount, Simon Cowell, Peter Andre, and Holly Willoughby and many more celebrity friends. You can show your support and help more families treasure every moment they have together by donating here.