As we reach Halloween today with ghosts and ghouls on the mind, thoughts have turned to an entirely different kind of ‘spirit’ which plays a huge part in fundraising here at Strode Park: The Community kind.

Strode Park Foundation: Community Spirit

Being a ‘local’ charity can certainly have both benefits and pitfalls. Where we do not normally receive the support that the bigger and more ‘famous’ charities do, we are instead able to develop extremely strong relationships with our local community. These relationships are so important to charities such as ourselves as without the support that we are given, be it through fundraising, supplying venues or helping at events, we would not be as successful as we are.

A perfect example of this is the wonderful connection that we have with a local micropub called the Copper Pottle.

Based in a quiet neighbouring village, the Copper Pottle is a tiny yet extremely friendly place; a place that you would perhaps expect to collect a few coins in our charity pot at best, never mind raise the thousands of pounds that they have over the past few years.

It all started when the owners approached us around three years ago to let us know that they were opening up their new business and were looking for a charity to support. As a real hub to the community themselves, they were particularly looking for a local charity and luckily for us, we were first on the list.

They soon started planning fundraising events on our behalf. Initially, these were mostly food based and took the form of barbeques and pie nights but have since expanded to include quiz nights and other themed days and nights (such as the recent ‘Ginger’ night where their red-headed landlord celebrated all things ginger!)

The Copper Pottle really know how to engage with their customers and it wasn’t long before they were all getting involved in more than just their own events, even entering a team into our annual sponsored walk ‘Stride and Ride for Strode’ this year.

One of the greatest successes had to be last Christmas, when, on agreeing to raffle a Christmas Hamper that we provided, customers even started donating their own prizes to add to the collection and it became quite the haul!

Of course, this has not been a one-sided relationship. We always make time to visit the Copper Pottle to present (proudly displayed) fundraising certificates in person and a warm invitation will always be extended to an opening or supporters thank you events that we hold ourselves. It has also not been unheard of for members of the fundraising team to pop in for the odd ale or G&T and a chat on occasion..!

To date, the unstoppable Copper Pottle has raised around £9000 for Strode Park Foundation and as I type this, there are several additional events in the pipeline so this is a total which is ever increasing. The enthusiasm that has been shown by such a small business and group of customers never ceases to amaze us and we are truly grateful for everything that they achieve.

We are constantly building on similar connections with other local businesses, groups and individuals and hope to grow these further as time goes on.

It just goes to show that when a small relationship is really nurtured, great things can really happen.

(Written by Christina Jones, Fundraiser at Strode Park Foundation)