There are some incredible ways to support local businesses and charities in your area but Rachel Cook, from Mistley, is trying something new.
This year, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, she is running a Virtual Christmas Fayre for the Ipswich area to raise money for funds to buy books and activities for the Children’s Ward at Addenbrookes Hospital.
This charity is close to Rachel’s heart as her niece, Destiny, was recently diagnosed with leukaemia.
“I chose Addenbrookes Hospital, specifically the c2 ward, as my niece, Destiny, has been receiving treatment since June. Covid-19 has meant that the children can’t share things, such as books and jigsaws. I would love to be able to give the children who will be attending the hospital over the festive holidays, a little bit of Christmas magic, with their own books, jigsaws and activities.”
Not only is this event for a good cause but Rachel also started it up to help local businesses in the local area.
“I got the idea to do a virtual fayre because most physical events are being cancelled. Small independent businesses, like mine, saw fayres, specifically Christmas, as a great opportunity to interact with customers and sell to a wider audience.
“Without these events, it is harder to grow our customer base. I’m hoping that by bringing local businesses together, we can support each other and provide a safe place for our local community to shop at their own leisure on a Facebook group.”
The fayre will run throughout November and local companies will be sharing their products for purchase on the Facebook group.
Alongside all this, Rachel is setting up a raffle for everyone to take part in to raise the Christmas cheer. It’s £1 per ticket and £5 for six tickets. It will be drawn on November 29 from the Facebook group.
“We already have some fantastic prizes donated – an Amazon Fire 7, a Smartwatch, hampers and products from some of the stallholders – with more arriving soon!”
So far, Rachel has already raised £400 for the charity with the help of Destiny’s younger brother, Kyrell, who is collecting sponsorships by getting in a paddling pool of cold beans. Rachel also shaved her own hair in support after Destiny was told she would lose her hair through treatment.
However, the hard work isn’t done just yet. Rachel would love to reach her goal of £600 so that she can do even more as an independent Usborne organiser and she needs our help.
“A simple share of the group would generate more support, or instead of buying your child or grandchild a book from Amazon, consider contacting a local independent bookseller or buy a personalised gift that is handmade with love by someone local. You are not only supporting a local business, but also a family and a dream.
“I thank everyone who has joined and shared our virtual fayre, the generous donations, both monetary and gifts, Ipswich102 for choosing us to be their charity of the month, the staff at In Touch and to the NHS for the care and support both my niece and my sister have received through an utterly terrifying time of their lives.”
To check out the virtual market for yourself and spend some money for a good cause be sure to head to the Facebook group and get yourself some amazing Christmas gifts: www.facebook.com/groups/229673601795954.
To make additional donations to Rachel’s cause check out their GoFundMe page: uk.gofundme.com/f/books-for-childrenc2.