Each year Hill & Knowlton staff donate their time to a worthy cause – not to write press releases and make media calls but to get our hands dirty. For instance last year we supported London Play and helped clean, paint and repair playgrounds around the Capital for a day.
This year we are donated 200-odd staff to children’s charity Kids Co.
In London there are over 650,000 children living in poverty (Evening Standard, 2010). For a city like London this is an absolute disgrace and charities like Kids Co. are looking to support those children by engaging them in activities across London such as sports days, art and cookery workshops, and skills and education classes.
We couldn’t think of a more worthy cause so on the 30th April H&K London will down tools and check in at the many Kids Co. events taking place and offer our help and support.
Obviously PR-power can only go so far and therefore to further support the activities on the day we needed to raise money to host the events.
So the challenge was set and £9,000 was the target.
The H&K Charity team sat down to come up with a way of raising the money. First port of call, Tony Stimpson (H&K London’s CFO) – “we’ll match anything you can raise” he says. Tony writes out one of those jumbo cheques you only see on TV (he actually uses them) and straight away our target is cut in half.
After much head scratching the words, “run”, “marathon”, “Soho” are uttered and before anyone can say “the only running I do is to Eat Cafe at lunchtime”, the event is set – we will run a marathon around Soho Square. Not 26.2 miles is no small order and with the time we had to pull it off the sensible decision was made to run the marathon in relay – we’d all take turns running the square and tag the next person in who would continue the run. The combined distance would need to beat the marathon standard which equated to about 200 laps.
At some point during this conversation someone managed to sneak wigs into the minutes so true to our word the Charity Team braved the balmy weather of Soho on Thursday 18th March in our finest leggings, shorts, t-shirts and wigs to undertake the Soho Square Marathon.
It was tough. The first few laps were a breeze but after a good hour the heavy concrete underfoot and ginger afros started taking their toll. Backs were aching, feet were blistering and sweat was dripping but we persevered – “do it for the kids” was the cry as we jogged on well into the second hour.
As we ran, H&Kers would come down to the square to shout their support. Even CEO Richard Millar took time out from his busy schedule to don a ginger wig join in the fun.
In between the running he held money tins out for any passers-by to donate to the cause and if anyone doubts the generosity of Londoners then I would invite you down to Soho Square. People were giving us £5 notes, all the pound coins they had on them, and more. It really was great to see so many people get behind the cause.
As we past the 2nd hour, the finishing line was in sight. Eight or so runners all gathered for the final lap – it was a slow lap but the motivation from staff and strangers was enough to get us round. 200 laps. Done!
The team were elated but the question remained, how much money had we raised with the run.
Well will staff and client donations, plus the on-the-ground fundraising we managed to raise a massive £8,385.93, shattering our target of £4,500 and making sure the 2010 Charity Day will be one to remember for the hundreds of children we will be helping on the 30th April.
A big thank you has to go out to everyone who supported the run with their donations and time. If you would still like to show you support and make a small donation you still can by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/hillandknowltonuk.
For more information about Kids Co. please visit their website at http://www.kidsco.org.uk.