Focus: Corporate Responsibility - Side by side

Argos and Help the Hospices have embarked on a two-year partnership. Helping Hospices, Helping Families uses the retailer's high-street pressure to raise funds and improve the charity's profile.

MAXINE BLUNDEN, CORPORATE FUNDRAISING MANAGER, HELP THE HOSPICES

Help the Hospices and Argos launched a two-year partnership, Helping Hospices, Helping Families, in July.

A big task for us early on in the campaign was to link each of the 630 Argos stores or distribution sites with a local hospice. This will allow local relationships between stores and hospices to develop, and means that money raised by staff will help their local hospices.

The partnership will develop over the next two years, during which we aim to integrate employee fundraising, volunteering and payroll giving, and involve Argos customers with cause-related marketing. It's fantastic to work with a company with so much presence on the high street. We recognise that, alongside the funds it will generate, the awareness it offers local hospices and the hospice movement as a whole is a real benefit.

We chose the theme Helping Hospices, Helping Families because it has a synergy across both partners. Hospices do a huge amount to help not just the person who is ill, but also their loved ones. We saw this as an opportunity to remind people of this.

LORNA LIGGETT, CHARITIES MANAGER, ARGOS RETAIL GROUP

Argos has only just begun its two-year partnership with Help the Hospices and we've already been overwhelmed by its success. At the end of July, when we launched the biggest catalogue we've ever produced, we invited hospice staff to come and meet the store teams they'd be working with. In a few days we had raised £26,000.

Hospice care is an ideal fit with Argos's brand. We have a strong family focus, which allows us to support the same cause throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

We have just launched our first nationwide fundraising challenge, Champion Challenge, with nominated charity champions from each store travelling to their paired hospice locations in wild and wacky ways - in fancy dress or on a trolley, for instance. It's great for staff morale and gives them the opportunity to visit the local hospice, seeing the work the hospice teams do.

To raise awareness of our charity partner, we have increased store signage, and put messages in our catalogue and on our website. We are also developing an in-store donation facility.

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