Cause UK Marks Ten Year Anniversary

Founded by sisters, Clair and Ann, 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of Cause UK. We're proud of our work putting good causes, the arts, and ethical businesses on the agenda.…

Founded by sisters, Clair and Ann, 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of Cause UK. We’re proud of our work putting good causes, the arts, and ethical businesses on the agenda.

Clair and Ann

In the past decade, Cause UK has supported major arts organisations such as Ilkley Literature Festival, and The Civic in Barnsley, as well as running our own events. One annual highlight is the Malton Dickensian Festival, working with the brilliant actor, Miriam Margolyes, and broadcaster, Selina Scott.

Our agency has provided high level strategic consultancy on PR, marketing, and fundraising to many charities including the Archbishop of York Youth Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and Lord Robert Winston’s Genesis Research Trust.

We work with ethical businesses, such as James Potter Eggs, Ecology Building Society, and Besbrode Pianos, who we secured a film on The One Show for. Melvin, who owns Besbrode, said of our various media work over the years that it was ‘almost impossible to calculate the good it has done, amazing.’

One of the joys of our work is supporting people who do great things for charity. We’re proud to have raised upwards of £1 million for charity, as well as raising awareness of some remarkable people and causes.

One of our first projects was setting up the Veterans’ Artisan Bakery in 2011. We enlisted the support of Marco Pierre White and Rosemary Shrager. The therapeutic bakery works with veterans at risk of homelessness, addiction and mental ill-health. It is situated at Riverside’s supported housing scheme, The Beacon, at Catterick Garrison, and it is still going strong. We worked with the then marketing manager, Susan Littlemore, who said: “I can’t recommend Cause UK highly enough for their conscientious approach, creativity, and genuine passion for our work with veterans.They helped put our services on the national map, positioning us as leaders in the field.”

Our work supporting veterans and raising funds for military charities continued. In 2016, we project-managed a major charity concert, Hidden Wounds, featuring Gary Barlow, with songwriter Eliot Kennedy raising £60,000.

Kennedy, the Sheffield songwriter to the stars, has written hits for Take That, Celine Dion and Bryan Adams. Eliot has become one of our longest-standing partners. In 2012, we worked with him to update the folk song, On Ilkla Moor Baht’At, for a tourism initiative to mark Yorkshire Day. Clair convinced actor Brian Blessed to rap on the track, with soprano Lesley Garrett, and brought in the Yorkshire regiment and community groups for the music video, which has had over 250,000 views and attracted global media.

Last year, we worked with him again, supporting the 2019 Invictus UK Trials Opening Ceremony in Sheffield with Alfie Boe in partnership with the MoD, Style for Soldiers, and the Invictus Foundation – work that resulted in a private meet and greet for Clair with Prince Harry to thank her for her work.

Last year, Clair worked with Invictus veterans, Darren Young and James Rose. James nearly died after stepping on an IED in Helmand Province, when he lost both legs. Now a para-athlete, he wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Darren to raise funds for military charities, and awareness of mental health for veterans. Clair secured James and Darren on Sky News, Channel 5 News, and Good Morning Britain and James went on to become the first double amputee to reach the top in September.

James Rose said: “Clair has massively helped us in raising awareness of mental illness to a larger audience and raise extra money for our chosen charities.”

For several years, Cause UK has supported Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Last year, we brought Steve Backshall and Chris Packham to the Royal Hall to raise awareness of the climate crisis and the importance of protected landscapes.

Why has Cause UK been so successful over the decade? Ann has a background as a journalist and editor. Clair’s career has involved working in marketing and fundraising. Together, we have the skills to make a big impact, with the ability to spot – and tell – a great story. We’ve had clients on The One Show, BBC Breakfast and Countryfile, and work on documentary ideas, as well as placing stories in regional and national broadcast media, newspapers and magazines.Trusted storytelling generates powerful media, that can spread across social media.Ultimately, it’s about boosting the bottom line for our clients – increasing footfall, revenue or charity funds.

2020 sees Cause UK work once again with Key Fund – the north’s leading anti-poverty organisation.Key Fund was one of our first clients ten years ago. We hope it says a lot that many of our clients are longstanding, and return to work with us year on year, and recommend our services to others.

Ann tells many of Key Fund’s client stories, and the work is truly inspirational. Social entrepreneurs are driven individuals dealing with society’s most challenging issues. Matt Smith, CEO of Key Fund, said our work has helped them build a national profile: “It was something that we had previously struggled with, which helped us to secure awards, attract new clients, bring in different investors and really move on to a new level.”

We have also supported Visit Harrogate and Harrogate BID, and worked with visitor attractions including How Stean Gorge and Stockeld Park and the Himalayan Gardens and Sculpture Park. Will Roberts, who runs the gardens, said he saw ‘an increase in footfall on the back of the national coverage generated.’

This year, we have new clients and more exciting events planned, such as working again with Brian Blessed for ‘an evening with’ event for Harrogate Film Festival at the Royal Hall in March, so do keep an eye on our News pages.

There are many highlights, but here are our top picks:

Top Ten Highlights

2011 – Veterans Artisan Bakery: From fire power to flour power, Cause UK generated funds to establish the bakery at Catterick Garrison, a working therapeutic bakery for veterans struggling to adjust to Civvy Street, which is still going strong.

2012 – Brian Blessed Raps for Ilkley Moor: The re-imagined On Ilkla Moor Bah’tat story featured in the Telegraph, BBC World Service, and BBC One Show, as Cause UK helped reclaim the Yorkshire folk song.

2012 – The North’s Top Ten Social Enterprises – Cause UK helped showcase the North’s top 10 social enterprises for Key Fund with stories in the Guardian and regional media including BBC’s Inside Out, and went on to support the anti-poverty organisation to raise their profile over the years, including launching its £3m Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund in Wakefield last year with arts minister, Michael Ellis.

2013 – In the Rings with Ali – Working with Bradford’s ethnic minority charity, QED UK, Cause UK brought a major retrospective of art works celebrating Muhammad Ali to Bradford featuring world-renowned artists. The launch featured Richard Dunn, who fought Ali at the 1976 World Heavyweight championship, and Bradford Police and College Boxing Academy. Ali’s brother, Rahaman, flew over from the States to do BBC Breakfast and support the launch. The event celebrated Ali’s inspirational philosophies, humanitarian work, and message around social justice while raising funds for charity.

2012 – A Christmas Carol – Clair worked with broadcaster Selina Scott to secure a signed edition of a Christmas Carol from a collector in New York, celebrating Dickens’ links to Malton. The book inspired an annual Dickensian Festival ran by Cause UK to this day, which has featured Miriam Margolyes and Dickens’ great, great, great granddaughter, Lucinda Hawksley, alongside theatre and community projects.

2014 – Sherlock World Record – raising funds and awareness for the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre, we enlisted the most famous of all brains – Sherlock – tapping into the fandom around the BBC series. Staging a Sherlock Festival in Leeds, Cause UK organised the a World Record for the most people dressed as Sherlock Holmes. With funfairs, cosplay and music at Temple Newsam, Sherlock writer Steven Moffat sent a video message of support for the event and donated a BBC script signed by Benedict Cumberbatch and the cast for the charity. The story hit the UK nationals and went as far as China, Chile, Japan, Canada and Mexico.

2016 – Hidden Wounds Concert. One of our biggest fundraising challenges, Hidden Wounds raised £60k for Help for Heroes. Event managing the concert for Eliot Kennedy, Gary Barlow starred, and the 700 gala dinner audience were treated to videos of support from Bear Grylls and Donny Osmond; Kensington Palace tweeted their support.

2017 – Eggs Take Off– raising awareness of the ethical and CSR work of James Potter Eggs, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance landed at the farm to celebrate 1p donation per dozen eggs sold. Media work continued with scripting and managing an ITV advert for Yorkshire’s leading free-range egg producer.

2019 – Invictus UK Trials – Eliot enlisted Cause UK once more to promote the official opening celebrations of 2019’s Invictus Trials in Sheffield, hosted at Sheffield Arena. Working with Alfie Boe, Heather Small, Suggs alongside the MoD, Style for Soldiers and the Invictus team, Cause UK secured regional TV news and The One Show, and were invited to meet Prince Harry.

2019 – Go Wild – As part of its work with The Wild Watch at Nidderdale AONB, we invited Steve Backshall and Chris Packham to the Royal Hall in Harrogate. Both gave inspiring talks raising awareness on the climate crisis, resulting in extensive press coverage on the Wild Watch’s work.