Partnerships round-up: Heads Together in London Marathon initiative with Madame Tussauds

Plus: Alzheimer's Research UK links with Wickes for Sunday's big run; Brake and Vision Express join up to lobby drivers to have eye tests; and Marie Curie begins annual alliance with Spar

Royal waxworks donned headbands
Royal waxworks donned headbands

Runners in this month’s London Marathon are being encouraged to wear distinctive blue headbands as part of an initiative involving the mental health charity Heads Together, Virgin Money and Madame Tussauds London.

Heads Together is the marathon’s charity of the year, and runners on 23 April are being asked to don headbands to get people talking about mental health.

London Marathon sponsor Virgin Money is providing the headbands. The waxwork attraction Madame Tussauds London is also backing the initiative, which is spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Some of the museum’s wax figures of famous people, including Usain Bolt, Sir Mo Farah and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, wore headbands to promote the scheme and will sport them again on race day.

It is hoped that runners will use social media to promote the 26-mile race as the "mental health marathon". Prince Harry said: "We want to use this moment to help end the stigma that stops people talking and change the conversation about mental health for good."

Wickes hope to raise £20,000 for its charity partner of the year, Alzheimer’s Research UK, through a series of London Marathon fundraising initiatives.

Kevin Rimmer and Michael Jones, who work at the retailer's store in Birkenhead, hope to generate £5,000 each by completing the 26.2-mile course. The two colleagues are organising other in-store activities, including asking customers to donate 50p each at the till, in an attempt to boost the total to £20,000.

The road safety charity Brake and the optical retailer Vision Express are teaming up to lobby for drivers to have regular eye tests.

The partnership builds on Brake’s Driving for Zero initiative, which has been raising awareness of three accident-inducing triggers: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; driving while fatigued or distracted; and driving with poor vision or ill-health. Vision Express has been running an Eye Tests Saves Lives campaign.

As part of the new venture, the two organisations will lobby policymakers to introduce mandatory eye tests at the driving test and renewal stages.

Gary Rae, campaigns director at Brake, said: "Having worked with Vision Express in the past, we know the organisation puts its full weight behind campaign activity."

Marie Curie has begun an annual partnership with the convenience store Spar. UK Spar stores hosted donation boxes throughout March to coincide with the terminal illness charity’s Great Daffodil Appeal, which is its largest annual fundraiser.

Employees will take part in other fundraising schemes throughout the year to help Marie Curie nurses care for people who are living with terminal illnesses.

Celebrities including the singer Olly Murs and the actors Jason Isaacs and Stephen Mangan supported the campaign to get people to wear daffodils during March.

Rethink Mental Illness and Virgin Trains on the west coast have announced a year-long partnership. Besides fundraising, the company will raise awareness of mental health issues among staff.

The partnership will be launched on 4 May with a May the 4th Be With You Star Wars dress-up fundraising day. Virgin Trains previously partnered with the Mental Health Foundation. Rethink Mental Illness's partner charities, Hafal in Wales and Support in Mind Scotland, will also be involved in the initiative.

Virgin Money Giving has been named as the official fundraising partner of the Brighton Marathon weekend for the next three years. The company, which operates a fundraising platform, signed a deal with the events company Grounded Events, which organises the weekend. It is hoped the weekend, which includes a series of running-themed events, the centrepiece of which is the marathon, will raise £18m.

If you’re interested in fundraising, you can’t miss Third Sector’s Annual Fundraising Conference on 23 and 24 May. Click here for more information and how to book

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