Dress Claire, a bold campaign to drive donations at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) shops across the region, has seen the charity benefit from an extra £30,000 worth of items compared to the same period last year.
In total across the two-week campaign, EACH received around 13,400 bags, representing a 30% spike from 2018.
Dress Claire saw lifesize cardboard cutouts of Claire Wright, 45, from Sutton, near Ely, partially hidden behind a board and greeting customers in all of EACH’s 37 shops.
Claire’s family received support from EACH when, in April 2012, her 16-month-old son, Jacob, sadly died from mitochondrial disease. The charity, in Claire’s words, ‘is a place where we can remember our beautiful boy, Jacob, with a tear and a smile. You never think you’ll be the one who needs EACH’s support, but when you do it’s something priceless.’
She has raised huge amounts of money and awareness for EACH since. Dress Claire began just days after the seventh anniversary of Jacob’s death.
Ian Nicolson, EACH Head of Retail and Trading, said:
“We really can’t thank Claire enough for her willingness and enthusiasm to get involved. With nine shops having opened last year and two already in 2019, it now means we need over 6,000 bags of donations a week to keep our entire portfolio of 37 fully stocked and able to bring in the money we need to provide vital care and support for children, young people and family members. On that note, please may I urge everyone to continue being so generous, whether by donating items – we estimate one bag is worth around £10 on average – volunteering or simply shopping with us.”
Dress Claire built on a previous EACH donation drive, Dress Daisy, that asked people to help dress a naked dummy, Daisy, in shop windows. That saw a 16% spike in donations.
For the more recent campaign, Claire went to City College Norwich, when she enjoyed having her hair and makeup done by student Sophie Briggs, and photos taken by second-year photography students. She then met all the cutouts of herself, including her favourite photo of Jacob, at EACH’s Retail Distribution Centre in Thetford. With the help of another college student, Jess Beard, EACH produced a video showing that process.
As well as women’s and men’s clothes, bric-a-brac, books, toys, jewellery and other such items, EACH also needs donations of good-quality furniture and can collect it free of charge if you are unable to transport it yourself. Call 01842 821620 for more information.
To put into context the difference just a small donation to a shop can make to the vital work EACH does, here are some examples of what your donation could pay for:
– A top, skirt or pair of trousers worth £5 could pay for art supplies for a session of art therapy
– A tea set worth £11 could fund an hour of specialist play tailored to a child’s individual needs
– A nice wedding hat or jacket worth £19 could pay for an hour of vital physiotherapy
– An item of good-quality furniture or prom dress worth £24 could fund an hour with a psychologist to help guide and support families going through, likely, the toughest period of their lives
For more information about EACH and to find out where your nearest shop is, go to www.each.org.uk.