ILX has decided that 2021 is the year that we're going to start giving back! Like many people and organisations over the last 12 months, we've had the opportunity to reflect on what's important to us, and as a company have made the decision to actively fundraise for two nominated charities.
At the beginning of the year, we created a working group, made up of employees from across the business. Our first course of action was to select the charities that we were going to be raising money for throughout 2021. Everyone at ILX was given the opportunity to nominate a charity that was important to them, and once we had a long list, we asked everyone in the business to vote on them... and the following two charities came out on top!
Cardiomyopathy UK is a specialist national charity for people affected by cardiomyopathy. They provide support and information services, work to raise awareness of the condition, campaign for better access to quality treatment, and promote research.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that affects around 160,000 people in the UK. Although a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy can be life-changing, with the right treatment and support most people can live full and active lives.
This charity was nominated by Nick Thomas, an Account Director at ILX who has been personally affected by this disease. Please read Nick's story to learn the amazing work this charity did for him and his family, and why it's so close to his heart.
The charity is very close to me after losing my father to the illness two years ago. He was first diagnosed in 2009, at the age of 51.
My father worked hard all his life to provide for his family, and like many men of his generation, he didn't always feel comfortable in sharing concerns about his health with family, friends, or even the doctor. Had he spoken out earlier he had could have potentially prevented this illness.
Cardiomyopathy UK supports patients and families, like us, affected by this disease, by providing access to specialist cardiomyopathy nurses, support groups, and help lines. The charity also works to raise awareness within the medical profession to support earlier diagnosis.
I'm really proud that my colleagues voted for this charity, and thankful to have the opportunity to raise money for the charity so that they can continue to support other families affected by this disease.
Don't Lose Hope is a local charity based in Bourne that provides a safe haven for anyone going through a difficult time. The charity offers professional counselling for all members of the community, delivered by a team of qualified and experienced counsellors.
There is a community garden that is part of their therapeutic service, and there is a café, which helps to raise funds and also acts as a place where you will always find a friendly face or someone to talk to. However, they rely on fundraising to ensure they can maintain the service they offer.
Andy West, one of our trainers at ILX, has taken great solace and received amazing support from Don't Lose Hope as he went through an unimaginable time. Please read Andy's story, to learn why this charity is so important to all of us at ILX.
My connection with Don’t Lose Hope started a few years ago. In December 2019 we lost my son, Niall, to the most common cause of death in young men - suicide.
A seemingly happy, employed young man with a partner, family and friends suddenly takes his own life.
We had seen in the local paper that Don't Lose Hope had been given access to a piece of land in the park in the centre of town, and were going to build a "man shed" and garden. A space where people could go to ostensibly give a hand, do some work and more importantly, talk to someone as they did so. As men are often poor at talking we thought this was a great idea and might have been a help for Niall had it been in existence. Instead of flowers, we asked people to make donations to Don't Lose Hope to help the shed become a reality.
In February 2020, Nicola from the charity established a support group for three families in Bourne who had suffered the same loss of a child to suicide. We met twice with two counsellors whose role was to help us talk and share as a group. We managed to meet twice before lockdown and went on a self-organised walk, an opportunity for us to talk and share. Importantly, the walk took us past the house where for one of our group the unimaginable had happened. A place she had avoided for years. With the support of the group, she was able to walk past, without breaking down. Afterwards she said it had been so very hard but was incredibly grateful to the group for helping her to meet the sadness.
During lockdown, the garden has been cleared, the shed has been built, and work is still going on. But the café and gift shop have had to close, so we have lost those vital fundraising resources. In order to provide the usual support services both in the normal counselling environment and in the man shed and garden, Don't Lose Hope needs our support.
The ILX Charity Group, which is made up of volunteers who wanted to play an active role, meets regularly to plan and discuss our calendar of events. One of the first things we did, was to set up our JustGiving page, to make it easy for our community of supporters make a pledge, and for us to easily keep everyone informed of our fundraising events.
We'll use this page on our website to keep you all updated on what we have planned, the success of past events and our progress as we work towards achieving our fundraising target.
We will also be posting these updates across our social media platforms. If you're not already, follow ILX on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
And we will be reaching out to our community of learners, customers, friends, family to show their support by making a donation.
The first fundraising initiative we rolled out was a webinar, Adapting to the post-lockdown work environment (and how to make it work for you). Delivered by business psychologist and expert trainer, Nick Winston, it was for people in our network who have found themselves unexpectedly working from home throughout the course of this pandemic. The webinar was an opportunity to offer some advice and guidance around the issues they’re dealing with, such as burnout, prioritising workloads and managing the work-life balance.
It was also a great way to introduce our two charities, with representatives from both making an appearance and spending a few minutes talking about the excellent work they’re doing. We raised over £250 from this webinar, and in case you missed it, you can catch up on our YouTube channel!
And after hearing the wise words from Nick, as well as the introduction from the charities, if you feel compelled to make a donation, please visit our JustGiving page.
We did it! On Thursday 10 June 2021, a group of us hiked up the Watkin Path of Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales (and England)!
It was tough! The weather was horrendous; gale force winds, rain, zero visibility, so what was an already challenging climb turned into something even more difficult. Everyone showed amazing teamwork, that got us all down Snowdon safely, albeit the experience was scary at times!
But it was all in aid of two fantastic charities, and we're so proud that this challenge saw us raise over £1,500 towards our target! And of course it's not too late to donate - just head to our JustGiving page.
Not everyone wants to climb a mountain, and for those who would prefer to stay on flatter ground, we set up an ILX group walking challenge June 2021! Everyone who took part had a target of at least 100 miles for the month, and we raised nearly £300!
Great weather, LOADS of cakes, generous people.... and the 100 numbers raffle - what better way to spend a summer's day in July with friends! Siobhan, monkey and her amazing friends raised a total of £363, which supports a total of 18 families across both charities! Huge thanks go to Siobhan and her friends!
Now that we operate as a distributed workforce, we have two in-person, all-company events every year. This gives us a chance to catch up with our colleagues from across the business... and provides us with an opportunity to do some more fundraising! We ran raffles at both our Christmas party in 2021 and at our company day in July 2022. The Christmas party raffle raised £635, and in July this year we made another £560!
The ILX Team are back again, and this time 15 of us are participating in the Northwest 5K Tough Mudder on Saturday 10 September 2022. Some of the obstacles they could be taking on include, The Block Ness Monster, Mudderhorn and Electroshock Therapy!
We have some very nervous participants, but we're going into this with a positive mindset! And we'll get through it, as a team, one way or another! We'd be delighted if you could support us and donate via our JustGiving page please. Every penny really does count and goes towards helping our two incredible charities.