Sick children and staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital are celebrating an incredible milestone, as family-owned toy retailer, The Entertainer announce that their customers have raised a staggering £650,000 for The Grand Appeal, two weeks after high street stores reopened their doors.
The high street store has been raising money for the dedicated charity for Bristol Children’s Hospital, The Grand Appeal by simply asking customers to round up their purchases to the nearest pound when shopping in-store by partnering with Pennies, the micro-donation charity.
Despite UK retail sales suffering due to long periods of closure and reduced footfall during the pandemic, the toy chain has raised almost £100,000 in the last year alone in the region, exceeding £650,000 as stores reopened the week before last.
The Entertainer has been raising funds for the charity, after rolling out the Pennies initiative across its stores in the UK in 2011. 17 of the stores across the South West, from Cornwall up to Wiltshire raise funds for The Grand Appeal.
The donations support the charity’s contribution to specialist treatment for sick babies, children and young adults from across the South West and aid the development of facilities that ensure Bristol Children’s Hospital remains at the forefront of children’s healthcare.
Pennies runs the “digital charity box”, the digital upgrade of the traditional charity tin, designed to fit with our increasingly cashless lifestyles. As our daily lives are changing, Pennies wants to make sure everyone has the chance to donate to charity where they can.
In 2018, The Entertainer upgraded the technology to enable customers to donate via contactless payments with Pennies, this introduction has seen customer generosity significantly increase with £400,000 being raised in less than three years.
Karen Emery, Area Manager for The Entertainer in the South West said:
“We are delighted to announce that we have raised over £650,000 for our partners at The Grand Appeal. Despite reduced opening hours over the last year, its simply incredible to witness the continued generosity of our customers, who are willing to go the extra mile to support an amazing cause, even in such uncertain times. Many of our customers and staff have personal experience of using the hospital services and have seen first-hand the difference it makes. Thank you to all our customers in the South West for helping us to support The Grand Appeal.”
Alison Hutchinson CBE, Pennies CEO added:
“The fantastic news is The Entertainer is able to open its doors to customers again, now there is certainty around the April 12th lockdown easing. We know they will be getting back to what they do best – providing a wonderful and welcoming experience to customers – and enabling them to get back to giving right away.
“Congratulations to The Entertainer and The Grand Appeal on this milestone, and a huge thank you to customers in Bristol and across the South West for their generosity.”
Helen Haskell, Corporate Partnerships Manager at The Grand Appeal, said:
“Our partners at The Entertainer and their incredibly generous customers have reached an astonishing milestone, which our team are extremely grateful for. Over the last year, fundraising has been especially challenging due to the pandemic and its thanks to supporters, like The Entertainer, that we have been able to continue to provide the vital services for sick children and their families when they need it most. Every penny truly does make a difference.”
As the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity, The Grand Appeal funds ground-breaking medical equipment, three family accommodation houses, 20 specialist support staff and a programme of art, music and play in partnership with the hospital and its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital.
For more information on Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal and the services they help to fund visit www.grandappeal.org.uk.
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Notes to Editors
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal is the dedicated Bristol Children’s Hospital charity. It runs a multi-million-pound portfolio of investment in partnership with the children’s hospital and its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol.
Bristol Children’s Hospital is a national centre of excellence. It treats over 100,000 patients each year from across the entire South West and South Wales region and is home to some of the most exciting advancements in global paediatric healthcare. Babies, children and young adults with highly complex medical conditions – from rare genetic disorders, neurological conditions and congenital heart disease to traumatic injuries, cancer and kidney disease – are cared for around the clock by leaders in their respective fields. Just like Bristol, the hospital is a hub of innovation, where every day these experts pave the way for sick children through a vast network of research projects with international impact.
It is thanks to The Grand Appeal the hospital is a pioneer in so many fields today. Through its unique, trailblazing partnership with Aardman Animations, The Grand Appeal has diversified its funding streams to bring in the most advanced medical equipment, including the UK’s first-ever Cardiac Hybrid Theatre in a paediatric setting, an intraoperative 3T MRi Scanner – one of only three in children’s hospitals across Europe – and a ground-breaking neuro-robot, which helps neurosurgeons perform major operations with pin-point precision.
Independently, The Grand Appeal runs three family accommodation facilities and employs over 20 specialist support staff who work on the ground in the hospital to ensure every aspect of hospital life is centred on the wellbeing of the young patients and their families. It also works with the hospital to create a child-friendly environment and a programme of arts, music and play therapies to ensure the very best patient experience.
About the Entertainer
The Entertainer was founded in 1981 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire by husband and wife team, Gary and Catherine Grant who, along with two of their sons, instil the driving force and mission – “To be the best-loved toyshop – one child, one community at a time”. Today, it continues to be the largest family-owned chain of toy shops in the UK with a total of 170 stores.
As well as a strong High Street presence, The Entertainer has a successful website (TheToyShop.com) which offers a 30-minute click and collect service and has over 29 million visits annually. The Entertainer is also recognised for its charitable giving. Each year it tithes 10% of its pre-tax annual profit to charity. In addition to this, employees are encouraged to donate directly through Payroll Giving, with The Entertainer matching each donation pound for pound and raising over £1m to date. The Entertainer is also an active member of the Pennies scheme, the digital upgrade of the traditional charity collecting box, which enables customers to donate a few pence to charity at the point of sale when paying by card. On average, this generates £14,500 of customer donations to Children’s hospitals each week and has raised over £3m since it was introduced. The Entertainer currently employs over 1500 staff across the stores and a further 231 in the Head Office in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.
In December 2018 The Entertainer acquired POLY, a chain of 39 toy shops in Spain. In February 2019 the Early Learning Centre was also acquired consisting of over 300 franchise stores internationally. Gary Grant was named among the 100 most influential people in retail in the Retail 100 2020.