20 May Donations to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices shops soar during Dress Claire campaign
Dress Claire, a bold campaign to drive donations at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) shops across the region, has seen the charity benefit from an extra £30,000 worth of items compared to the same period last year.
In total across the two-week campaign, EACH received around 13,400 bags, representing a 30% spike from 2018.
Dress Claire saw lifesize cardboard cutouts of Claire Wright, 45, from Sutton, near Ely, partially hidden behind a board and greeting customers in all of EACH’s 37 shops.
Claire’s family received support from EACH when, in April 2012, her 16-month-old son, Jacob, sadly died from mitochondrial disease. The charity, in Claire’s words, “is a place where we can remember our beautiful boy, Jacob, with a tear and a smile. You never think you’ll be the one who needs EACH’s support, but when you do it’s something priceless”.
She has raised huge amounts of money and awareness for EACH since. Dress Claire began just days after the seventh anniversary of Jacob’s death.
Ian Nicolson, EACH Head of Retail and Trading, said: “We really can’t thank Claire enough for her willingness and enthusiasm to get involved. With nine shops having opened last year and two already in 2019, it now means we need over 6,000 bags of donations a week to keep our entire portfolio of 37 fully stocked and able to bring in the money we need to provide vital care and support for children, young people and family members. On that note, please may I urge everyone to continue being so generous, whether by donating items – we estimate one bag is worth around £10 on average – volunteering or simply shopping with us.”
Dress Claire built on a previous EACH donation drive, Dress Daisy, that asked people to help dress a naked dummy, Daisy, in shop windows. That saw a 16% spike in donations.
For the more recent campaign, Claire went to City College Norwich, when she enjoyed having her hair and makeup done by student Sophie Briggs, and photos taken by second-year photography students. She then met all the cutouts of herself, including her favourite photo of Jacob, at EACH’s Retail Distribution Centre in Thetford. With the help of another college student, Jess Beard, EACH produced a video showing that process. It can be viewed at www.each.org.uk/dressclaire.
As well as women’s and men’s clothes, bric-a-brac, books, toys, jewellery and other such items, EACH also needs donations of good-quality furniture and can collect it free of charge if you are unable to transport it yourself. Call 01842 821620 for more information.