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 £20 million to fund pioneering research and help Breast Cancer Now identify the causes of breast cancer. In 2015, M&S launched a new, five-year appeal to raise £13 million for the charity and in this first year alone, M&S customers have helped contribute to raising an incredible £3.5 million. The money will allow Breast Cancer Now scientists to discover a robust model to calculate an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer. This will enable women to put practical measures in place to reduce their risk of a breast cancer diagnosis ever becoming a reality. 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, Sparks members have been helping fund 13 Macmillan professionals a year, professionals such as 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 £3.2 million since 2011 to fund conservation work to clean seas and coasts so they can provide a home for wildlife and sustainable livelihoods for people. In just one 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.
We 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, we can continue vital projects such as the Good Fish Guide, which directly improves the sustainability of over 5.7 million seafood meals per week.
To date, we’ve cleared over 9 million items of litter from our coastline. Most importantly, every item is recorded and analysed, allowing our experts to campaign for change at a government and industry level. And it really makes a difference. For example, 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.
Our 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.
In 2017, Oxfam will continue 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 Individual Needs Grants programme. This programme helps serving men and women, veterans, and their families in so many ways.
From mobility aids and home adaptations, to helping a veteran develop the skills needed to make the transition back into civilian life, every single donation will have a profound impact on our Armed Forces community. So far, Sparks members have raised over £220,000 helping fund 160 Employment support grants and mobility grants.
Since 2009 M&S has raised over £3.2 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.
Laurance Huxtable served as an infantryman all over the world and lost his closest comrade during the Aden conflict in 1967 when a sniper shot him in the neck.
In 2010 Laurance, 73, was diagnosed with myeloma – cancer of the bone marrow. The cancer treatment affected his feet and he is unable to walk very far. As a member of the local Legion branch, Laurance knew help was available so he contacted the Yorkshire office and they secured funds from his old regiment to buy him a mobility scooter which he received in January 2014.
Handymen from their Poppy Calls service also built a shed to store the scooter in Laurence’s garden.
Before the Legion stepped in to help, Laurance had been virtually housebound for the last four years but now he is able to use his scooter to get out. It’s given him a whole new lease of life.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the support from the Legion. The scooter has given me my independence back. For the last four years I’ve been stuck at home, but now I can travel around my local town and take the bus for days out with my wife. I’m so grateful to the Legion for everything they’ve done for me.”
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 customers have raised over £8 million for Shelter, helping more than 94,000 families by funding one in five of all calls answered. Just one call can be the difference between somebody losing and keeping their home.
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.
With your support, UNICEF is providing life-saving and life-changing supplies for Syria’s children. More than 8 million Syrian children are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. One in four schools in Syria is destroyed, damaged or occupied, leaving more than 2 million children without education and hope for the future. UNICEF is providing life-saving food, clean water, clothes and medicine for Syria's children. We are also helping to train teachers, repair schools, set up temporary classrooms and provide school supplies so that children can have a brighter future.
The support of Sparks members helps the Woodland Trust protect and create more of the glorious woodland habitats we have across the UK. Trees are vital: 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. So, to counter the increased loss of trees due to pests and diseases, the Woodland Trust is aiming to plant a tree for every person in the UK – that’s around 64 million trees!
Recycle your Christmas cards in select M&S stores throughout January and turn them back into trees with the Trust. For every 1,000 cards you recycle with us, The Woodland Trust will plant a tree. Last year your cards meant we planted 12,500 trees across the UK!
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. 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.
Tigers are still in trouble and need your help. Become a Tiger Protector today and as a thank you, WWF will send you a unique gift. Shining a bedtime light on the plight of the wild tigers, The Tiger Protector is a personalised story book, starring a child, whose wild adventure educates us about how we can all help protect this magnificent animal from an unthinkable fate
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.
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