Philippa Redwood is a PA at Hilton Avisford Park, and has been a supporter of the Foundation since 2007. She has become known in the Foundation as a fundraiser and volunteer with innovative and exciting ideas for events and fundraising from book clubs, to masked balls (see Philippa, pictured left), and Jive evenings. We spoke to her about why she volunteers.
Hi Philippa, thanks for talking to us! Over the years the team at Avisford Park have made grants amounting to £66,467.66. This is a fantastic achievement! Of the many wonderful charities you have supported in that time, are there any particular charities or events that you feel especially proud of or are particularly relevant to you?
That is an amazing figure – I’m sure the team will be very impressed with that total and of course that isn’t the total amount we have raised it only represents what we have given out in grants. Around the World in a Day has always been a fun event which involves the whole hotel as well as engaging with a different section of our community each year. We have built up good relationships with several schools in the immediate vicinity of the hotel and the event has helped to strengthen our relationship with the wider community. I particularly enjoy our Jive Evenings as they are such fun and everyone always has a good time. As dancing is one of my particular interests it has been great to combine doing something I really enjoy with fundraising for the Foundation and local good causes. Again, this is an event I get the whole hotel involved with as each department provides a prize for the raffle, the Kitchen always prepare some delicious snacks and the team on duty for the evening always look after us really well. This is a simple idea which works well.
Our Charity Balls have become very popular and I always get a good number of repeat guests and some have been with me from the beginning, so for seven years. This has challenged me to think of a new and exciting theme for each year so that it is always different particularly for the regular supporters. I like to create a “WOW” factor with the decorations so that guests feel they are attending a well thought-out event. This year we are going it alone without a charity partner and we already have 150 guests booked to attend which is fantastic! It has been great to present cheques to a variety of good causes in the local community. They have all been extremely grateful to have been nominated as recipients of Foundation funds raised by the hotel. From football kit, swimming equipment, musical instruments, play areas, contributions towards a minibus, school trips, sports equipment and medical support – such varied items but all extremely important to the individual recipients.
You arrange lots of different fundraising activities, including a literary lunch event. Can you tell us how you get your ideas for your fun and unusual fundraising events?
The Jive Evenings have been the result of me suggesting to my dance instructor that he uses the hotel’s Grand Hall to host his charity events. The dancers all love the venue and the event is always very well supported. The original dance was the result of a simple suggestion of offering our hotel as the venue for charity events – with no outlay for the instructor it was a simple decision! The Literary lunch was the idea of our former charity partner!
Do you have a favourite event that you’ve organised?
It’s always great to see the Charity Balls come together – they are a lot of work but I get great satisfaction from seeing the Grand Hall beautifully dressed, seeing the guests all arrive in their finery, the team taking pride in serving wonderful meals, seeing the guests all enjoying themselves and awarding prizes to winners – it makes all the hard work worthwhile! I also enjoy the Jive evenings as they are relatively simple to organise and such fun!
What do you think is the key to a successful fundraising event?
Being organised, simple ideas and if a format works well don’t change it!
Do you have any exciting plans for future fundraising or events?
Probably keeping to the ideas that work and possibly expanding on them. We will look to do a Literary Lunch again for the Foundation- we just need to select our author!!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
It has been a pleasure working with The Foundation team over the years and the support has been much appreciated and enabled us to add some interesting fundraising features to our events.