Driving Home For Christmas
10th December 2018 Paul Andrews
The team from Family Business United (‘FBU’) and Plan Insurance (‘Plan’) have put a new twist on ‘driving home for Christmas’ in an attempt to make a real difference this Christmas.
Last week the team completed an epic 1000 mile journey around the UK visiting family firms collecting clothes and raising funds for the homeless in a festively decorated van. As Paul Andrews, Founder and Managing Director of FBU explains, “For most of us Christmas revolves around the family and spending special moments together and creating memories that last a lifetime. Sadly, that is not the case for everyone and with family values at the heart of what FBU is all about we felt compelled to do something to make a difference. For those on the streets and homeless, parted from their families for various reasons, we wanted to help."
“For the second year running we have undertaken the Family Business Santa Dash with Plan and collected warm clothing which will be distributed via a homeless crisis centre on The Strand in London direct to those in need, with other items being sent to various outlets to be sold to raise further funds to help. Funds collected during the visit are being sent to the national homeless charity, Emmaus UK, to help with the fantastic work that they do in towns and cities around the UK too.”
FBU members Plan were delighted to get involved with the campaign. As Grant Georgiades, Managing Director of Plan Insurance adds, "As a family and a family business, the plight of the homeless at this time of the year is something that we want to try and do something about and to make a difference through this campaign, however small, is something that we are passionate about. We are clear in our intentions to make a difference and the trip in the van around the UK will add some fun to the event, helping to raise awareness and provide lots of content to share on social media too. It will also ensure, through the clothing collected, that the items make an immediate difference to those on the streets at a time of year when it is most needed too."
The journey around the UK saw the team visiting family firms to collect donations regionally, stopping off in Manchester, Carlisle, Glasgow, Leicester, Colchester, Chelmsford, Enfield, Redhill and Cobham with Grant and his brother and fellow shareholder doing the driving, at times in weather of biblical proportion!
As Paul Andrews continues, "The weather may not always have been kind but the warmth and generosity of our family business community certainly made up for it. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness afforded to the campaign and the fact that this will make a real difference to the lives of those more vulnerable is fantastic. It was a long week on the road but one that is worth every mile covered and the fact that we were able to make it to Scotland this year was really special."
With figures from Shelter showing that there are more now than 250,000 homeless people in the UK today this campaign is clearly going to make a difference.
As Scott Georgiades, fellow Director and Shareholder of Plan explains, "We wanted to make a difference and looking at the amount of items donated are clearly going to achieve that goal which is what the Santa Dash was all about. Family is everything to us and to make an impact like this, although just a drop in the overall ocean when it comes to the homeless situation across the country, is great. At a time when we are surrounded by such uncertainty it was great to do something that will certainly make a difference.”
The clothing will be distributed during the forthcoming week.
As Paul concludes, "We had a fantastic trip around the UK and met some great family businesses along the way, some of them FBU members and others that are not but who were happy to be part of the event. It was a heart-warming week full of fun, laughter and insights with factory tours and stories along the way."
"Next week, the week takes on a deeper and more meaningful tone as we get personally involved with the distribution and this is a truly humbling and emotional experience. It is difficult to see first hand the extent of the homeless situation in the capital but fantastic to be able to make a small difference, even if it is just through the gift of a warm jumper, pair of gloves or a sleeping bag that might provide some warmth against the winter weather."
"People around the UK have been so generous and we want them to know that their donations have been truly appreciated and we are proud of the way that the family business community has come together in what has been reminiscent for us of the true meaning of Christmas. From all of the team involved, and particularly Scott, Grant and myself in the Santa Dash Van, thank you all for getting involved. Merry Christmas."
For anyone wishing to support the campaign by making a donation, however small, they can visit the Just Giving page here
There is a full image selection and tweet compilation in our Santa Dash moment here too
Particular thanks go to: HMG Paints, JW Lees Brewery, Hawkshead Relish, Marriott UK, Bagnalls, Bruce and Lukes, Thomas Jardine & Co, Thomas Graham & Sons Ltd, Sue Howorth, Mactaggart and Mickel, Kin Alliance, Little's Chauffeurs, John White & Sons, Western Pension Solutions, Mairi Mickel, G. Seller, Century Office, CH Lindsey, Rose Calendars, Mark O'Connor, Dean Smith, David Dickson, Potter Space, Perrywood Garden Centres, Birketts LLP, Scrutton Bland, Tradewise and Drivertax.