McCarthy Stone – the UK’s leading developer of retirement communities – has raised an incredible £200,000 through its year-long fundraising partnership with the national reading charity Coram Beanstalk, achieving twice the target it set itself for the year.
The retirement community developer chose Coram Beanstalk as its charity partner for 2019 to help improve outcomes for children who struggle with reading, while promoting the wellbeing benefits of intergenerational volunteering among its nationwide communities. Originally setting itself a target of £100,000, the organisation doubled the amount it expected to raise following a great response from its employees, residents and partners.
Coram Beanstalk recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one support to children aged 3 – 13 years old who have fallen behind with their reading levels and confidence.
One in four children across the UK leave primary school without the skills to read, while 5.1 million adults are functionally illiterate. The support Coram Beanstalk volunteers provide significantly improves the outcomes for children across the UK by transforming reading abilities, enjoyment and confidence.
The grand total was revealed at a celebration supplier gala dinner event, hosted by McCarthy Stone on 16th January attended by Ginny Lunn, Managing Director of Coram Beanstalk, who thanked everyone for all their fundraising throughout the year.
John Tonkiss, McCarthy Stone’s CEO said, ‘’I am immensely proud of all the fundraising efforts over the past year, from all our employees, residents and suppliers. It’s great that we can support Beanstalk and all the wonderful work they do in making a real difference to children’s lives, while helping to inspire the next generation of readers. Over the past three years we have raised in excess of £500,000 for Beanstalk, our previous charity partner The Royal Voluntary Society (RVS) and our regional charity parties, which is an amazing achievement’’.
Ginny said: “We are in absolute awe of the fundraising efforts achieved by McCarthy Stone’s employees and its communities. They have shown such dedication and commitment throughout the year, resulting in them completely smashing the target they had set for themselves. This £200,000 will help us expand our reach and deliver more vital reading support to children across the country who most need it. What has been really special about this partnership is that it has achieved much more than fundraising, it has created a lasting relationship with McCarthy Stone who throughout the year have become reading helper volunteers in schools themselves. This will hopefully continue beyond the year-long partnership helping us reach more children over the coming years.”
The evening’s celebrations featured guest speaker Steve Cole, author of the Young Bond series, who reinforced the importance of the charity's work.
Fundraising has been encouraged through a range of wonderful ways from an impressive World Book Day celebration involving staff dressing up as book characters to raise money, to gruelling challenge events. Courageous London Marathon runners Darren Bedford and Dawn Parker raised over £5,500 between them. Staff also took part in a Story Readers day which saw them undergo a morning of training with Coram Beanstalk in how to engage young children with books, after which they went into a nearby school to put what they learnt into practice reading with the children.
Tracey McDermott, Chief Technology Officer at McCarthy Stone was inspired through the partnership to become a corporate volunteer with Coram Beanstalk: “I spend 30 minutes reading with the little girl I’m partnered with - it’s less than a lunchtime that I am away. The thing that I have really found is that I completely underestimated the impact that the half an hour every two weeks has. Just giving your time is really important - the children are so engaged and excited. I assumed that it would be quite hard to engage the children but actually that’s the easy thing.”