In October 2017 The Sun’s Health Features Editor Christina Earle put out a call for pitches for the media partnership via journalist enquiry service Ask Charity – requesting charities that support children over the festive period to get in touch.
Following a successful pitch led by the Media and PR and Corporate Fundraising teams at CLIC Sargent, the charity was chosen for the high profile appeal, which ran from 1 to 22 December.
During the partnership 21 features were published in the newspaper and on Sun Online about the children and families supported by CLIC Sargent, alongside information about the work of the charity’s nursing, play specialist and social care teams and its Homes from Home which provide free accommodation for families. Stories also featured a number of celebrities who gave their backing for the appeal, including Ed Sheeran, Frank Lampard and Aston Merrygold.
More than £63,300 was donated to the appeal by Sun readers. In addition, News UK, the Sun’s parent company, and the Morrisons Foundation each donated £25,000 to the appeal, while J D Wetherspoon encouraged its patrons to donate the cost of a drink or meal to the cause via special bucket collections in its pubs throughout December, which raised £13,354. In all a total of £130,857 was raised.
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer support charity for children and young people aged 0-24 and their families. Its team of specialist CLIC Sargent Social Workers and Nurses work in hospitals and communities across the UK to limit the devastating impact of cancer on their lives by providing crucial clinical, emotional and financial support.
CLIC Sargent’s network of 10 Homes from Home across the UK offer free and homely accommodation 365 days a year, for up to 92 families at a time, so that they can stay nearby to their loved ones in hospital and keep life as normal as possible.
Kate Lee, CEO, CLIC Sargent, said: “As well as raising a staggering amount of money the Smiles at Christmas partnership provided an amazing platform for CLIC Sargent to tell its story, and to reach a massive new audience.
“The money donated to this appeal helped our specialist nurses, social workers and Homes from Homes support around 3,800 children and young people with cancer over the festive period and will go on to make a huge difference to the lives of so many.
“On behalf of us all at CLIC Sargent I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sun readers, the brilliant editorial team at the Sun, News UK, plus the Morrisons Foundation and J D Wetherspoon customers for their incredible support.”
Sean Hamilton, Head of Editorial Planning at The Sun, said: "We considered a few charities for this year's Smiles At Christmas appeal - but CLIC Sargent impressed us with their great pitch, superb staff, connections in the celebrity and corporate world and, of course, a thoroughly deserving cause. They were a pleasure to work with and understood our need for great daily editorial content. Our readers responded by digging deep into their pockets to donate to the appeal."
John Hutson, CEO at J D Wetherspoon said: “Our employees were proud once again to support CLIC Sargent by fundraising during the Smiles at Christmas appeal, and to add £13,354 to the incredible £14 million that we have raised for the charity to date.
“It was also wonderful to see one of our bar staff, Caillan, who beat cancer as a teenager and who was supported by CLIC Sargent at the time share his story with Sun readers.”
David Scott, Trustee at the Morrisons Foundation, said: “We know how important the work of CLIC Sargent is to families facing cancer, so we were delighted to be able to support The Sun’s appeal with £25,000 in match funding.
“The exposure and income generated by Smiles at Christmas appeal is a great boost to the work of CLIC Sargent in supporting children, young people and their families from the moment of a cancer diagnosis.”