Every time you shop using Sparks, we give a penny to your chosen cause. Read on to see how the money’s helping. And from the bottom of our baskets, thank you.
Since 2001, M&S has raised over £29 million for Breast Cancer Now to fund vital prevention research. In 2015, M&S launched a new, five-year appeal to raise £13 million for the charity and at the end of our third year, M&S customers have helped contribute to raising over £9 million. The money will help to prevent 9,000 cases of Breast Cancer each year by 2025. Breast Cancer Now scientists are working to calculate an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer and ways to help individuals reduce that risk. Breast Cancer Now believes that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live.
Four-time Olympian for Great Britain, Donna Fraser was at the peak of her career when her success story took an unexpected turn. In May 2009, Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. Three months later she reluctantly retired from the world of athletics. Due to her age and a high chance of recurrence she was offered a mastectomy.
“I’d be in my room and I’d ask ‘why me?’ Despite being an Olympian and a fit person, breast cancer doesn’t discriminate.” However, ‘Donna-the-athlete’ soon kicked in, pushed her to focus and she decided surgery was the right decision for her.
“Breast cancer awareness is very important to me, therefore I would do anything to support anything and anyone who is an advocate for Breast Cancer Now. M&S and their appeal are leading the way to promote the cause and we can’t get there without you.”
Extraordinary things happen every day at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). The hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children from across the UK who have the rarest, most complex, and often life-threatening conditions that cannot be treated elsewhere. Your support and generous donations to the charity will help to make a real difference to seriously ill children from across the UK who are being treated at GOSH.
Your donations help patients like Freddie, aged eight. Freddie has CAPS (Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndrome) an extremely rare condition affecting around one in a million people. The condition is a group of rare, inherited, auto inflammatory diseases which cause periodic fever. Freddie now attends GOSH every few weeks for injections that help to manage the symptoms. Since he started the treatment, his health has improved dramatically. He has more energy and his attendance at school has improved, he has started to play football and his joints and eyes no longer swell on a regular basis.
Since 2015, our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support has helped to fund over 150 Macmillan professionals, including nurses, occupational therapists and dietitians who provide essential medical, emotional and practical support to the 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK today.
“I remember a gentleman who came in with incurable cancer. The following morning, his wife said that his one wish was to die at home. So I worked with all the other nurses to make sure we got him home that afternoon – a process that would have normally taken 48 hours. The man died within a few hours of being home. It was as if he was just waiting to get back there.”
M&S customers have raised over £125,000 since 2011 for the Marine Conservation Society. This funds their vital conservation work to ensure UK seas are full of life, so they can provide a home for wildlife and sustainable livelihoods for people. In the last year, over 1 million people took part in Marine Conservation Society projects and campaigns, which meant that almost once a week, important changes were made at a local and national government level to build a better future for our seas.
The Marine Conservation Society believe a healthy ocean is vital to all of us; from the air we breathe, the seafood we enjoy, to quality time spent with our friends and family. With your support, they can continue vital projects such as the Great British Beach Clean and Good Fish Guide, which directly improves the sustainability of over 5.7 million seafood meals per week.
To date, the Marine Conservation Society have cleared over 9 million items of litter from the UK coastline. Every item collected is recorded and analysed, allowing experts to campaign for change at a government and industry level. And it really makes a difference. There are now 40% fewer single-use bags on beaches, one step towards making them safer for wildlife. This follows a collaborative campaign to bring in a charge for single-use bags throughout the UK, informed by the vital data gathered by MCS beach clean volunteers.
Volunteers, including Sparks members and the M&S team, are key to all of this, so please look up your nearest beach clean and get involved.
For every £10 raised via Sparks cards, Oxfam can bring clean water to 10 people – from a family facing an emergency to a community without a nearby supply. Oxfam’s water pipes, pumps and expertise help keep people healthy. They also cut the hours that women, in particular, have to spend fetching water – time better spent getting an education, earning a living or growing crops.
Oxfam continues to respond to global emergencies, saving lives when disaster strikes. And by staying long after the dust has settled, they’ll help people come back stronger so they can stand on their own two feet. The charity will work at grassroots level, promoting development, helping people to help themselves out of poverty – supporting their right to work and provide for their loved ones. Oxfam will continue to take on global issues that keep people poor or hit poor people hardest, like inequality, discrimination against women and climate change, to create a just world without poverty.
By donating to The Royal British Legion via your Sparks card, you have helped fund The Royal British Legion’s Admiral Nurses, who support those caring for people suffering from Dementia.
Since 2009 M&S has raised over £6.4 million for the Legion. With this support, the Legion is able to continue to provide vital services, helping it uphold its commitment to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. Last year, the partnership funded 16 Admiral Nurses who support over 600 families.
Ron, a veteran of the Territorial Army, was diagnosed with dementia in 2009. His condition not only forced him to retire early, but has also impaired his capacity for affection and rationalisation. His wife Loraine has since been his main care-giver.
They have both been impacted massively; Ron by his life-changing illness, and Loraine by the responsibility of caring for him. Fortunately, Helen, a Royal British Legion Admiral Nurse, started supporting the couple two years ago and has since made a huge difference.
She has helped them to learn about the effects of dementia, develop coping mechanisms, and- most importantly- has been someone who will listen to and understand their feelings.
Admiral Nurses like Helen empower carers to continue providing for a loved one whilst maintaining their own wellbeing. She has supported Loraine through stress and anxiety, so that she can continue to care for her husband.
“Helen has really helped me to understand how to cope with all the questions I have and has supported me emotionally.
“She has allowed me to express myself and has been essential in helping me cope with not only Ron’s changing personality but my own. She’s not only a support, but also a great friend.”
Shelter help millions of people every year struggling with poor housing or homelessness through their advice, support and legal services. They also campaign so that one day, no one will have to turn to them for help. Their free national helpline is available 365 days a year and their helpline advisers are fully trained to offer housing advice, providing a vital service for anyone struggling with issues related to housing and homelessness – no matter what their situation.
Since 2005, M&S has raised over £11 million for Shelter, helping Shelter answer almost 170,000 calls to their emergency helpline from families who desperately need their help
Francesca called the Shelter helpline when she and her young family were living in an overcrowded hostel. With support and advice from Shelter advisers, she was able to leave the hostel and find a place to call home.
Just one call to the helpline can be the difference between somebody losing their home and keeping it.
The early years of a child’s life are the most critical to their development. With your support, UNICEF is providing early childhood development programmes for children aged 0 to 6 in emergencies. These early childhood development programmes help young children learn the skills to prepare them for future schooling. This is even more critical for families affected by war or disaster, as they are often traumatised and uprooted from their homes, schools and friends. With your help, we are supporting children and families affected by war or disaster so that children can have a brighter future.
The support of Sparks members helps the Woodland Trust plant and protect woodland across the UK. We all need trees; they provide the oxygen we breathe and are home to our best-loved wildlife. They’re also beautiful – from the glittering silver birch to the majestic oak. The Woodland Trust is working to plant a tree for every person in the UK – that’s around 64 million trees!
During the last century, wild tiger numbers plummeted by over 95%, and by 2010 there were as few as 3,200. But now, for the first time in conservation history, they’ve started to rise, with around 3,900 now estimated in the wild. It’s a huge success, but there’s a long way to go to reach the goal of doubling their numbers by 2022. Sparks members are helping WWF’s work towards that goal. If we achieve it, it could be the biggest conservation success story of our time, and you could be part of that story.
Every time you scan your Sparks card we’ll donate 1p on your behalf to a charity of your choice. So you can be sure to Spark Something Good every time you shop.