On behalf of SSK, I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to everybody who’s supported us this year, whether that’s through buying a kit, fundraising for us, or simply spreading the word about what we do… we appreciate it more than you know! 2016 has been a fab year for us and so we wanted to put together a post reflecting some of the amazing things that have come about in the last 12 months. This post has ended up longer than anticipated, and we have a lot of people to thank, so I’d advise grabbing a cuppa before we begin 😉
2016 definitely got off on the right foot for us, with a feature on SSK on the M.E Support website. Louise, who runs the website and the community, has been a wonderful supporter of SSK over the past year and really helped to get the word out about what we were doing. You can read the post on M.E Support here, and if you’re a fellow M.E sufferer, I really advise you to have a look at what they do!
Over January and February, we continued creating and selling kits with the goal of hitting our target of £1000 for Action For M.E. On the 8th of February, we were so thrilled to announce that we’d reached that target, and moved on to our next chosen charity: Fibromyalgia Action UK. This led to a feature on FMA UK’s website about life with chronic illness, which can be read here. We endeavoured to raise £500 for their excellent work, and carried on creating, developing and dispatching!
Later that month, we had some AMAZING news, courtesy of The Duveen Trust. The Trust offers financial support to projects that benefit society as a result of young people’s initiatives, and we’d originally applied for a grant of £300, to help cover materials. However, we were blown away to find that the board of trustees loved our project, and wanted to offer £1000 to fund our work! To date, this is still the biggest grant The Duveen Trust has ever given away, and it’s still ever so slightly unbelievable to think about.
March saw us completely sell out of kits thanks to recent media attention, but the launch of our Easter raffle. Tickets were sold for entries to win a cute, spoonie-friendly Easter hamper, which was won by the lovely Olivia Roche. April marked SSK’s first birthday and a huge social media giveaway was of course necessary. The prize, the first ever green kit, was won by Lucy Gisby. Finally, in celebration of our first year, our popular feature in Standard Issue Magazine was re-shared, and helped raise our profile a considerable amount… with Sarah Millican retweeting and sharing the love! You can read that article here.
We entered May with me (Pippa) having a meltdown over final university deadlines and a brief period of inactivity, however our special M.E Awareness Kits were launched presently. We decided that 100% of sales money from these kits would go to M.E Association (rather than the 75%/25% split we usually do for charities), and 12 of 20 kits were gone within the first couple of days! The kits were designed for M.E sufferers and featured gorgeous wristbands designed by Ellie Britton, donations from Louise at M.E Support, and more. We were so pleased to raise £167.60 for The M.E Association to support their wonderful work.
June was an exciting month, with summery new yellow and green kits being launched. We also hit our £500 target for Fibromyalgia Action UK at the end of the month, and announced our next charity: POTS UK. This is our current charity, and we will continue to work towards raising £500 for their amazing work, next year. June was ended with a lovely yet slightly daunting trip to the House of Commons, to represent SSK at Action For M.E’s private reception. The reception was held to launch the charity’s 5 year plan to highlight ‘the ignorance, injustice and neglect experienced by people with M.E’, and it was an honour to attend. You can read more about the evening on our friend Emiy Beardall’s blogpost here.
In July and August, myself and all of my volunteers struggled with ill-health (even more so than normal, yikes), however our lovely new website/blog, designed by Beth Capewell, was launched, and my very-amateur attempt at blogging began! August ended with another cheeky giveaway, with Rachael Bunker being the lucky winner of a kit, after being nominated by her mum.
September was a wonderful month, made all the better by the kindness of author Jared A. Carnie, who I met through my lovely friend and fellow poorly person Faye Savory. We were invited to the book launch of Waves, Jared’s first novel. SSK was chosen as one of their charitable causes that people were invited to donate to, in exchange for a copy of the book. This was an amazing act of kindness and the evening raised an incredible £200 for us, to help us keep funding our kits. You can buy a copy of Waves here, and I seriously recommend you do; I loved reading it and finished it in 3 days!
We also had our own exciting news in September: it had been in the works for a while, but we were finally able to announce that SSK would be publishing a book! Thanks to Leesa Wallace, we were able to begin accepting submissions from chronic illness sufferers, which would be collated into a book, with royalties being donated to SSK. We’re so excited about it possibly happening in the new year, and we’re going to carry on accepting submissions a little while longer. You can find out more, including how to submit your own entry, here.
October meant it was time to start planning for Christmas! We prepared our Christmas Kits and Angel Bracelets, and they were launched at the beginning of November. We decided to support Project Parent this Christmas, and 75% of sales money from these items went to their wonderful cause; creating happiness bags for parents with children in hospital over the festive season. Kate Stanforth is an incredible girl and a wonderful friend of mine, and we wanted all her hard work to be recognised. Over November and December we sold all 50 kits plus dozens of bracelets, and we were so chuffed to raise £450 for Project Parent! In December, we were also happy to be featured on the BearHugs Random Acts Of Kindness Calendar, an act of kindness in itself, which we also enthusiastically joined in with. BearHugs is a gorgeous small business run by Faye Savory, and you can (and should!) find out more about that here.
That just about brings us to now and I’ll be honest, it’s taken sitting and writing this post to realise how much we’ve actually managed this year… what madness! As of now, we’ve sent 494 orders, reached people with chronic illnesses in 73 countries, and raised a combined total of £3006.95 for charities including Action for M.E.., ME Association, Fibromyalgia Action UK – FMAUK, POTS UK and Project Parent. truly can’t say thank you enough to everybody who’s supported us, but if I could give you extra enthusiastic hugs, I so would. As always, a huge thank you to my incredible volunteers, Lauren, Nikki and Beth, for all you do, and also to everybody who’s crafted for our kits this year, donated money or items to support our work, or simply spread the word about what we’re doing. We have some really exciting things planned for next year and fingers crossed it’ll be as fab as the last, but for now, here’s to the healthiest and happiest 2017 possible!
Love and hugs,