Paul Jackson-Clark, director of fundraising at Parkinson's UK, says that in the past the charity has not been chosen for many corporate partnerships. "As often happens with charities that focus on a single condition such as Parkinson's, when it comes to a staff vote, people will pick cancer or children's charities because they are better known," he says.
So the two-year partnership with the retailer Tile Giant, which sells kitchen and bathroom tiles in 107 stores in the UK, represents an unusual opportunity. "We hope to show other potential corporate supporters that we are worth doing business with," says Jackson-Clark. The charity's target is to raise £100,000 by March 2015.
Parkinson's UK was chosen instead of a more recognised charity because one of the firm's store managers has been living with the condition for five years and has received invaluable support from the charity.
Tile Giant wanted to partner with a national charity after previously supporting a children's hospice in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, where the firm originated. When it asked area managers for suggestions, Parkinson's UK emerged as the definitive choice. "The partnership means something to people because they identify with one of their own," says Ian Pennington, the firm's northern regional director. "We have had more involvement than ever before."
Fundraising has included employee challenge events and donations of spare change from monthly pay packets. It has so far raised £12,600 for a specialist nurse programme at the charity.