In a background of Brexit, political divisiveness and uncertainty, Cause UK has remained certain and constant in our founding mission: to put good causes on the agenda.
You’ll probably be ready for some good news, so dig out a mince pie and peruse our annual highlights.
Turn up the sound for this short clip of Alfie Boe. He’ll make your hair stand on end, singing Snow Patrol’s Run.
We were beyond proud to work with Alfie at Eliot Kennedy’s star-studded Big Gig to officially launch the Invictus UK Trials in Sheffield. Raising funds for military charities, we worked with Invictus UK, the MoD, Eliot and the brilliant Emma Willis MBE, founder of the charity, Style for Soldiers.
The pro-bono work in aid of military charities resulted in Clair from Cause UK, along with Eliot and Emma, having a private meet and greet with Invictus founder, Prince Harry. We secured stories on BBC One Show, BBC Breakfast and across print media. We’re really proud to support Eliot’s charity gigs, as we have throughout the years. It followed his 50th birthday charity gig earlier this year, also featuring Alfie Boe and Gary Barlow. Eliot appeared on ITV Calendar with another famous friend, Bryan Adams, and Ann interviewed El on his remarkable career for features placed across northern media.
Hitting All the Right Notes
Eliot always says music is the backstage pass to everybody’s soul, and it’s been a bit of a theme for us. We event managed gigs with Lesley Garrett and Julian Lloyd Webber as part of the Wesley Centre’s appeal and mission to transform into a community and cultural hub in Malton.
Clair also worked with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band to secure a beautiful story on BBC 1’s The One Show, to showcase their work nurturing talent in some of the most deprived communities.
The Greatest Risk in Life…
…is not taking the adventure. That’s the gospel according to mountaineer, adventurer and larger than life actor, Brian Blessed. We roped him into supporting a couple of military veterans Clair met at the Invictus Trials, James Rose and Darren Young.
James became the first military double amputee to reach the top of Kilimanjaro. The ‘Road to Kili’ team raised funds for military charities and awareness on mental health amongst veterans. Clair got the inspiring James and Darren on major TV shows, including ITV Good Morning Britain (with Brian), Sky News, and Channel 5 News, as well as a double-page feature in the Daily Mirror.
We’ve built a reputation for putting books on the media agenda. This autumn, it was the north’s longest running book event, renowned for its artistic excellence, the Ilkley Literature Festival.
The book bliss involved Ann interviewing authors and placing features in the Yorkshire Post, T&A, Ilkley Gazette and Daily Express, as well as profile in The Times, Country Living magazine, and regional mags too. We also had the complete pleasure of filming with Gyles Brandreth for ITV Calendar on his love of poetry, tying in Ilkley’s remarkable legacy with poet laureates, including Simon Armitage, who launched 2019’s festival.
In other book news, we announced the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards, which took place in October, lining up coverage in The Bookseller, Book Brunch and the Jewish Chronicle, with post-event stories in the Financial Times, and began work with Europe’s biggest crime fiction convention: CrimeFest.
Say it with Tractors?
Our work with Nidderdale AONB resulted in a fun media stunt as dozens of tractors formed the shape of a heart, led by farmer Stephen Ramsden to mark Landscape for Life Week. We coincided this land art to appear in a field next to the toughest climb during the UCI women’s race on September 28 – so it was captured and commented on by the BBC during the live broadcast (with an estimated global audience of 225m!). The heart was to show love for our farmers, hit by Brexit-doom, as well as celebrate all those who work so hard to work, and conserve, our countryside.
Work this year also resulted in working with BBC Countryfile, to profile our client the Himalayan Gardens and Sculpture Park, in their autumn special. We also worked with Channel 5’s Springtime on the Farm, sourcing the story of Toft Gate Farm in Nidderdale AONB to show the struggle farmers face.
A Really Wild Show
So, we may have a slight crush on our TV heroes, Chris Packham and Steve Backshall, so we decided to work with them!
We put the wild into wildlife with two incredible talks with Chris and Steve, which we hosted in association with our client, The Wild Watch.
Chris Packham brought his poodles, Sid and Nancy, to the Royal Hall in Harrogate where he gave an inspired talk on his activism, photography, and life with Asperger’s, with an insightful Q&A session by his BBC co-presenter, and the Patron we secured for The Wild Watch, Lindsey Chapman.
Steve Backshall broke records for a book signing as queues snaked around the Royal Hall after his talk on his latest TV series and book, Expedition.
Highlighting arguably the biggest challenge our generation faces – the Climate Crisis – we were proud to raise awareness and bring such inspirational speakers to Harrogate. Ann was lucky enough to interview Chris and Steve for stories that appeared across regional media, and set up interviews that went national with the Press Association and BBC radio.
Never ‘Business as Usual’
Earlier in the year, we were proud to handle the media for the launch of the £3m Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund for the Key Fund with Arts Minister, Michael Ellis, which featured on regional broadcast TV, radio and print. We’ve known Key Fund since we first began over 10 years ago, and never fail to be in awe of this remarkable anti-poverty organisation.
It’s always an eye-opening experience writing award nominations to showcase their clients’ work. To date, Key Fund has invested £55m, creating and safeguarding thousands of jobs and businesses across the North.
Penning entries for the Responsible Finance awards 2020 was a brilliant way to end the year and renew faith in humanity. The social enterprises they give finance to create hope and bolster communities, while tackling the deepest rooted challenges in society.
One nominee, Louis Speight, a 29 year-old with cerebral palsy, set up a sports coaching company for disabled children with complex needs. He grew up with people telling him he couldn’t ‘do things’. He went on to become a record-breaking Paralympian. We can’t wait to work with Key Fund to help celebrate their 20 years of investing in 2020.
What the Dickens?
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has never been more relevant. Its message of human kindness endures from the Muppets’ take on the classic story to Tom Hardy’s reboot (which airs on 22 December on the BBC).
We’re thrilled to be working with our good friend and Dickens’ aficionado, Miriam Margolyes, and Dickens’ great, great, great granddaughter, Lucinda Hawksley, once more for our Malton Dickensian Festival. The Harry Potter and Real Marigold Hotel star, said: “Dickens is the best. Once you’re hooked by his words, his books will enrich you over a lifetime. The evening is going to be enormous fun.”
The pair will appear on December 21 at The Wesley Centre in Malton, after which we’ll raise a glass of mulled wine and take a little break!
Thank you to all our clients who continue to inspire. It’s been a privilege to work with you in 2019.
The above is just a snapshot of our work, we’ve also done projects with Cystic Fibrosis Care, The Barnsley Civic, the Genesis Research Trust, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, Harrogate BID, Besbrode Pianos, Sandford St Martin Trust, Visit Harrogate, Two Ridings Community Foundation and helped raise £30k for the Archbishop of York Youth’s Trust with a charity gala with Mary Berry, as well as get our client Stockeld Park global media coverage for their Halloween and Christmas activities!
Until 2020; the most futuristic sounding of years – we’re ready to embrace it.
And if you plan a New Year resolution, Chris Packham gave us his advice:
“Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier, and use those 15 minutes to make the world a better place,” he said – whether it be baking a cake for a community event or picking up litter. “We’ve all got the power to make a difference in what we do and the choices that we make on a daily basis.”
Or if Brian Blessed is more your vibe, (who you’ll see more of from us in 2020) this is his nugget:
“Everybody’s got their Everest. It can be your garden, it can be your projects, whatever it is – it might be eventually taking one more step in your Zimmer frame in hospital. The greatest danger in life is not taking the adventure. You’ve got to go for it! And don’t let the bastards grind you down!”
Wishing a festive Christmas and peaceful New Year to all Cause UK friends – and friends to be – we look forward to working with you.
Clair and Ann.