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Over 100 people attended the 2019 Chestnut Tree House Business Awards ceremony, which took place at South Lodge Hotel on Thursday 7 March.
Held biennially, the Awards were created to recognise businesses and individual employees who are outstanding in their communities, and to thank them for supporting us. The event was hosted by BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey presenter, Allison Ferns, and our Vice President, Ambrose Harcourt.
Sarah Colbourne, Head of Fundraising at Chestnut Tree House said: “Last year, we celebrated Chestnut Tree House’s 15th birthday – 15 years of caring for children and young people with life-shortening conditions in Sussex and South East Hampshire. Without the ongoing support and generosity of our local community, it would not be possible for us to continue providing the care that is vital to so many children and their families. Businesses – large and small – are a huge part of that, and we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of our supporters for everything that they do for Chestnut Tree House.
“Allison Ferns and Ambrose Harcourt did a fantastic job of hosting our 2019 Business Awards, so I’d like to say a special thank you to them, as well as our four judges. We received a lot of entries this year, and choosing the winners was definitely not an easy task. Thank you too to our sponsors, Creative Pod, Hiykon Pro Audio, Picture Book Films, Platinum Publishing Group, South Lodge Hotel and Sussex Promotions.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who entered our Business Awards. Your support – past, present, and future – is invaluable.”
The winners and grand finalists were chosen based on a variety of different criteria, including outstanding team work and innovation. There were over 80 nominations, which were narrowed down by a panel of judges – leading entrepreneur and award-winning businessman, Kevin Byrne; Chestnut Tree House Trustee, Maureen Chowen; previous Business Award winner and company director, Colin Davis; and former events company director, Jon Rogers. In addition to the eight awards, a special ‘Corporate Legacy Award’ was presented at the end of the evening.
The winners and grand finalists were:
Jamie Alderton first visited Chestnut Tree House in 2017, which inspired him to take on his first challenge for us – running backwards for 24 hours. With the aid of his large social media following, Jamie smashed his original fundraising target, raising almost £18,000 (before Gift Aid) and is now in training for his next charity challenge and World Record attempt – to box jump the height of Mount Everest in 24 hours!
Grand Finalists: Sarah Hurst and Lorrie Maslen
AJW Aviation have supported us for nine years, contributing in a number of ways. Last year alone, the team raised and donated over £12,000, bringing their total to £45,000 since 2010. They aim to engage all staff in fundraising activities, and last year the team organised a range of events, including cake sales, quizzes, a collection in the canteen, and a golf day. Three members of the team also took part in our Arundel Castle abseil.
Grand Finalists: Airwave and Barclays
After nominating us as their Charity of the Year in 2018, Dometic set about coming up with a fundraising event to engage their staff and the wider community. They organised an Irish Barn Dance, where their supply chain manager led the dancing for three hours. The event raised £7,800, but also raised awareness of the work of Chestnut Tree House to new prospective supporters by getting the whole community involved.
Grand Finalists: David Page and Penguin Ventures
Last August, Adam Kerry and a group of his friends and family pushed a ‘Darling Buds of May’-style lorry for 20 miles, raising money for charity in memory of Adam’s father, Tony. The Lorry Push raised an incredible £34,380, which was donated to Chestnut Tree House and the Stroke Association. The team also wanted to increase awareness for us so wore branded t-shirts and caps, and displayed charity banners on the lorry.
Grand Finalists: Blue Dawg and Sophie Mitchell
The Green Tree Gallery celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018 by adopting us as their Charity of the Year. The year-long campaign set out to raise both funds and awareness and included an exhibition themed on the charity, entitled ‘Through the Eyes of a Child’. They also collaborated with local photographer, Sophie Mitchell, curating an original exhibition featuring two Chestnut Tree House children. Their enthusiasm and commitment helped spread the word about us and also raised over £2,500.
Grand Finalists: Bramptons Butchers and Portslade Health Centre
Knockhatch Adventure Park started supporting Chestnut Tree House in 2017 and have committed to supporting us on an ongoing basis. Their current fundraising total exceeds £6,000, but the support goes beyond that. They have also invited our Community Team to visit during their regular care sessions with local children, completely free, and the team regularly go the extra mile when Chestnut Tree House children and families visit.
Grand Finalists: Bennett Griffin and Watsons Associates
In 2011, Shoreham Vehicle Auctions chose Chestnut Tree House as one of the charities to benefit from a car and van auction, which raised over £1,900 for us. This figure doubled the following year, and the event kept on growing, raising a massive £34,000 last year. To date, they have raised over £134,000. The auction goes way beyond financial rewards – raising awareness of Chestnut Tree House to different businesses and their customer bases.
Grand Finalists: Green People and Vitacress
Set up in 2012, the Teddy Bear Run involves a group of car enthusiasts driving from Goodwood Motor Circuit to Chestnut Tree House every December to deliver teddy bears – and money raised – to the hospice. The first Teddy Bear Run was made up of 30 cars, but it now exceeds 120. Last year they raised £16,000, but it goes beyond that as they offer children a truly special experience to see and sit in the cars.
Grand Finalists: Creative Pod and South Lodge
In addition to the eight awards, we presented a special Corporate Legacy Award to Willmott Dixon. This new award was introduced to recognise the incredible commitment shown by Willmott Dixon, both in terms of fundraising and offering their time, skills and experience over the last five years.
The organisation pride themselves in existing to have a purpose beyond profit, and have committed to making a meaningful, sustainable and positive impact on society. This is evident in their ongoing support of Chestnut Tree House.
When Willmott Dixon chose to support us in 2014, their original goal was to raise at least £6,850 – the amount we need to raise every day to pay for all our specialist care services. The team smashed this target, raising enough to pay for one week of care. In 2015, they paid for two weeks of care, which they then exceeded in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
By December last year, Willmott Dixon had raised over £700,000 for us.
But for Willmott Dixon, it is about more than fundraising. In addition to spending days volunteering within the grounds of the hospice and at our retail distribution centre, they have organised a Digger Day for the children, and even made and donated a short film, which enabled us to trial TV advertising. Individual members of the team also support us through their own fundraising endeavours, including running marathons.
On receiving the award, Roger Forsdyke, Managing Director, Construction in the Southern Counties, Willmott Dixon said: “Engaging with Chestnut Tree House is really meaningful to us. We all understand the work that they do, and we all understand how important it is, so it gives us a real purpose beyond profit. If all you do as a team is work for money, it’s not that satisfying. So, working for something else really makes us a better team.”
Sarah Colbourne, Head of Fundraising at Chestnut Tree House said: “I’ve seen first-hand how the Willmott Dixon team push themselves on challenges – they throw themselves wholeheartedly into everything they do and really go the extra mile to raise money for Chestnut Tree House. The amount they have raised over the years is incredible, but their legacy goes way beyond that. Willmott Dixon have taken the time to really understand and engage with what we do, and the children and families we care for. On behalf of everyone at Chestnut Tree House, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved.”