Over the course of the last year and a half, charities across the North West have struggled to cope with the demands of the pandemic. But now, one social enterprise born-and-bred in Bolton, Box Power, has stepped up to make an incredible difference by donating all of its profits to good causes in the region.
In fact, after opening up applications for funding in June of this year, Box Power surprised the chosen charities by doubling the amount that each of them applied for, and providing funding to cover two years instead of just one.
So, in total, a staggering £800,000 was given away by Box Power and split between 24 charities of different sizes, scopes and services, in order for the money to have the biggest positive impact possible.
The charities located in Greater Manchester that received the heartwarming cash boost, include a number of hospices, such as Bury Hospice, Bolton Hospice, Reuben’s Retreat in Glossop and St Ann’s Hospice which has a site in Heald Green and Little Hulton, a number of charities that support those living with disabilities, impairments, special needs or poor mental health, including SeeAbility, Peeps, Henshaws, DeafBlind UK in Manchester, Jigsaw in Bury and Special Needs Under Fives Support in Bolton.
Other Greater Manchester charities that provide vital support to those who need it and received support from Box Power include The Compassionate Friends in Manchester and Fortalice, Bolton Lads & Girls Club, Bolton CAMHS in Bolton.
Representatives from each of these charities attended a special charity event at Brookfield Hall in Bolton on Tuesday 23rd November, organised by Box Power, to celebrate the charities’ hard work and achievements in being awarded this donation.
Box Power was founded by Bolton-based couple Corin and Tricia Dalby, after their son Benjamin was diagnosed with autism and the couple sold their large, multi-million-pound energy brokerage company to a PLC in 2012. In the time that followed, the couple were so blown away by the help they received from support networks and the local community that they felt inspired to give back.
So they set up Box Power – the UK’s first not-for-profit energy consultancy, designed to give clients peace of mind knowing that they were not only getting the best energy deals, but their money was also doing good.
Having set aside profits from the last few years, and witnessing the devastating impact that COVID has had on charities over the past 18 months, Corin and Tricia felt it appropriate to utilise the accumulated profits and open up applications for funding back in June of this year. Over 200 charities applied and Tricia and Corin personally reviewed each one, as well as arranging in-person or Zoom meetings to speak with the charities directly before whittling the options down to 24 at the start of this month.
“It was a much more emotional process than I expected”, said Tricia, “There are so many amazing charities out there, and you feel so moved by the passion that each of them have for their cause and the people they help. We wish we could have helped all of them, but we hope that – through giving as much as we can to as many as we can across all different charity types and areas – the money can make a real difference.
Corin added: “We also like to think that we’re setting an example – at a time like this, cross-industry collaboration is so needed and being able to give anything you can to people who give their all every day to look after the marginalised, disadvantaged or socially excluded amongst us, is something that all businesses should look to incorporate.”
The special event saw charities come together to meet, chat and share their experiences, with a warm welcome from Corin and a speech from Eammon O’Neal, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, and the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Linda Thomas. Following this, Corin and Tricia made the exciting announcement that the amount each charity applied for would, in fact, be doubled and instead of lasting just one year, would in fact cover two years.
Stephen Armstrong, Head of Fundraising at The Compassionate Friends in Manchester which supports bereaved parents, said: “Thank you so much to Box Power for their amazing contribution to our peer support of bereaved parents throughout the North West. Box Power’s donation will help enormously to continue the support of parents and families in the early days of raw, devastating grief and beyond.”
Alistair Laing, Capital Partnerships Fundraiser at St Ann’s Hospice, said: “It’s absolutely amazing. We just can’t believe it. We came here expecting an amount, thinking it would be about £20,000, and we’ve come away with £40,000 – we’re just absolutely blown away by it and it helps us on our journey to build a new hospice for the people of Greater Manchester.”
Sarah Land, Charity Manager and Co-founder of Peeps which supports people affected by Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE), said: “Tuesday was wonderful – to hear the Dalby’s story and see what a difference they are making to so many people. I am still in shock over the surprise and promise that every single pound will be put to good use.”
Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Eamonn O’Neal, said: “We meet many people in our roles who are doing great things. We rarely meet organisations that are genuinely performing such huge community interest activities. Rarely, if ever, have I come across this kind of philanthropy from one organisation. The money donated will touch many charities’ and individuals’ lives, which was very evident during the proceedings.”