Charities cheer shared success after RSM UK supports Olympians in collaborative approach to record-breaking fundraising campaign

Poverty-hit children will get help to keep warm this winter and bereaved families will be supported in coping with their loss thanks to the fundraising efforts of staff in the Hull office of global audit, tax and consulting advisers RSM UK.

Jonny Bottomley of Dove House Hospice and Natasha Barley of Sailors’ Children’s Society with their thank you message for RSM UK represented by Emma Collis, Andy Capes and Louise Craggs

The 100-strong team raised more than £25,000 from events ranging from food challenges to fitness training with Olympians and have handed it over to the Sailors’ Children’s Society, a charity founded in Hull over 200 years ago and now providing lifelines nationally to the families of seafarers in crisis; and Dove House Hospice, which is expanding its range of services.

Natasha Barley, CEO of the Sailors’ Children’s Society, said: “What RSM did makes a massive difference. They raised a phenomenal amount of money and they had a lot of fun doing it.

“The money will go towards our winter appeal, to provide winter coats and sturdy shoes for children across the country, which they would unfortunately not have without the support of the charity. If we have any extra it goes towards our winter heating grants as sadly there are a lot of children in this country who are cold and hungry.”

Jonny Bottomley, Partnership Development Fundraiser for Dove House, added: “The money has come in at a really important time for us. The impact of Covid reduced our services right down to our bedded unit and we are working hard to reopen some of the provision that we had to close, and offer some new support. We have so far opened some outpatient services, community groups, and groups for child bereavement and general bereavement.”

Andy Capes, office managing partner at RSM in Hull, said “Our team in Hull, chose the regional charities to benefit as part of a nationwide fundraising effort. In total we raised £206,000 which was topped up by the firm to add another £100,000. Our local team took part in a charity race night, completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, hosted cake and bake events, launched a tuck shop, dressed up as celebrities and superheroes and even ran York marathon all in aid of two important charities.”

Other businesses supported the campaign by donating prizes and four companies – Forrester Boyd, MKM, Rix Group and Williamsons Solicitors – paid for some of their staff to join an elite training session at the Village Hotel with Colin Jackson and Jamie Baulch, medal winners at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World and European outdoor and indoor championships.

That event took place on the eve of the Society’s sportsman’s lunch, which broke all records for the charity by generating more than £75,000. All involved are aiming to set a new record in 2024.

Andy said: “We teamed up with Forrester Boyd for the Olympic event and had a great time, so much so we’re planning on sponsoring next year’s event together. Not only did we have a lot of fun, but we raised a record amount of much-needed money, and set the bar high for next year’s fundraising efforts.”

Jonny added: “Some people think you are only there to raise money but the best fundraising events are always the ones where you involve people. The Olympians got so much out of it themselves.”

Natasha, who took up her post in March this year after 10 years working with charities, said she is now looking to add more fundraising events to the Society’s programme.

She said: “We are a national charity but this is our historic home and the community that we identify with most strongly. It means so much that the people of Hull choose us because this is where we started and this is where so many people have benefited and continue to benefit. 

“The sportsman’s lunch started about 30 years ago but it’s bizarre – I had worked in the sector for 10 years and had never heard of it. What a gift as an incoming CEO!

“Last year it raised £55,000 and this year I wanted to do more. We raised just over £75,000 which is absolutely incredible. The next one in October is sold out already because everybody books year on year and I can see the potential to make it even better, but it only happens because of the local business community.

“Everything we do is about supporting the disadvantaged children of seafarers – merchant navy, Royal Navy, the offshore wind industry, inland canals. If you work on a vessel and your family falls on hard times you are eligible. 

“But the magical thing about the RSM campaign is that it was about two charities, not just one. It’s so hard for businesses to choose and this is a beautiful story about two very different charities collaborating together. There’s such joy in the fact that we have both benefited from this.”