Posted: 24 March 2016
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Fund-raising phenomenon

Two years after National Grid employees voted for Macmillan Cancer Support as their chosen charity, Graham Frankland, Corporate Responsibility and Citizenship Manager, looks back at a proud and successful partnership.

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Fund-raising phenomenon

Fund-raising phenomenon

National Grid has used Macmillan’s expertise to raise awareness of cancer in the business.

“The money we’ve donated will help cancer sufferers focus on their recovery, rather than worrying about keeping warm.”

Graham Frankland, Corporate Responsibility and Citizenship Manager.

Insight:

Our employees have raised a staggering £606,340 for Macmillan, which will fund 3,121 fuel grants for people with cancer, who can’t afford to heat their homes.

Source: National Grid.

Back in 2013, we launched the search for our first employee-chosen charity partner. Following a vote, our people overwhelmingly chose Macmillan Cancer Support.

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Graham Frankland, Corporate Responsibility and Citizenship Manager.

We wanted the partnership to bring benefits to both organisations. For Macmillan, it was about raising money to fund emergency fuel grants for people living with cancer. From our perspective, we wanted to use Macmillan’s expertise to raise awareness of cancer in our business, encourage employees to get fit, and train managers to improve their confidence in supporting employees coming back to work after cancer treatment.

As the partnership draws to a close, we’re proud to say that our employees raised a staggering £606,340 for Macmillan, which will fund 3,121 fuel grants for people with cancer, who can’t afford to heat their homes. This money will help to alleviate the stress of fuel poverty at one of the toughest points in these people’s lives. It will allow them to focus on their recovery, rather than worrying about keeping warm.

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National Grid colleagues at the end of their London to Paris bike ride.

The grants bring real benefits to the lives of cancer sufferers, such as Sarah, who was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in 2010. “Last winter I was despairing,” she said. “It was a terrible struggle. I had to go to bed and hibernate to try and keep warm, as I was so worried about my energy bills. Macmillan’s grant to help with my fuel payments was a lifesaver.”

National Grid is not an energy supplier, but our networks do play a vital part in connecting everyone to the energy they need. Fuel poverty, where people can’t afford to adequately warm their homes, is a huge concern for us as a company, and this was an ideal opportunity to help address the problem.

Over the course of our partnership, we supported employees’ fundraising efforts through a scheme called matched giving. We match up to £400 of the funds each employee raises in each financial year – and we actually lifted the cap in 2015. More than 650 employees claimed their allowance and the business donated more than £250,000 to the Macmillan pot.

What’s more, National Grid made a company donation of £25,000, which along with other donations helped to fund a grants assessor for the charity.

So what did our employees do?

  • Climbed Ben Nevis at night, Scafell Pike, Snowdonia, and the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
  • Cycled from London to Paris, climbed and lifted the equivalent of a pylon, and even took part in a tug-of-war.
  • Followed in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Organised family fun days and took part in a soapbox derby.
  • Baked, judged, sold and ate a huge amount of cake for the charity’s popular awareness event, the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.
  • Donated funds via collection boxes.
  • Donated their career milestone and recognition award points, which were converted into 14 iPads. These were donated to Macmillan, which is using them to support people with cancer in hospital isolation and those with limited mobility after head or neck cancers.
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The Wolf Run was another fund-raising challenge

One of the iPads was donated to a hospital in Inverness in Scotland where patients have to stay in isolation for long periods of time. A Macmillan nurse at the hospital, said: “For many people, understandably, this is a frightening and lonely experience. The iPad will offer them a distraction from what is happening to them, to help them feel less alone and more connected to the outside world.”

Our Health and Wellbeing team were keen to use the partnership to raise awareness of cancer in the workplace.

Macmillan delivered 12 cancer awareness sessions and provided information at a number of our sites. They also ran a ‘Macmillan at Work’ session for HR and Occupational Health professionals, with the aim of better supporting colleagues on their return to work after cancer.

Our partnership has provided benefits to both organisations.

For Macmillan, the benefits have included:

  • An opportunity to raise a significant amount of money to support its fuel grant programme.
  • Access to our skills and expertise.
  • Raising the profile of Macmillan with employees. Prior to the partnership, around 24 employees claimed match funding. As a result of the partnership, that has rocketed to more than 650. And a huge number of people have already signed up to do more fund-raising this year.

For National Grid, the benefits have included:

  • Increased staff morale and engagement. More than 82% of employees supported the partnership in some way.
  • Endorsing our Corporate Responsibility by giving back to the community.
  • An opportunity to raise awareness of fuel poverty in the UK.
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Alix Wooding, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Macmillan Cancer Support.

Alix Wooding, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “As an employee chosen charity, National Grid colleagues have stood by their pledge to support Macmillan in helping us support people living with cancer.

“Thanks to their tremendous fundraising efforts we have been able to support more than 3,100 people living with cancer facing fuel poverty – and this is truly remarkable. So on behalf of all of us, we want to say thank you to everyone for being part of the Macmillan Cancer Support team. Their support has meant we are one step closer to a day when no one will face cancer alone.”

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