Tag Archives: Charity

Comedians take a Stand in refugee charity gig

Photo Above: Sign Supporting Refugees © Haeferl on Wikipedia

By Ian McNally

A collection of comedians took to the stage in Edinburgh last night, with over £700 in proceeds going to two leading refugee charities.

Benefit in Aid of Refugee Community Kitchen and CRIBS International was held at The Stand Comedy Club on York Place.

Continue reading Comedians take a Stand in refugee charity gig

Theatre company launches crowdfunder to feed and clothe Leith’s homeless

Photo Above: Edinburgh Homeless © Aiala Garcia on Flickr

Creative Electric launched a crowdfunder to support a community arts cafe in Leith yesterday.

The Edinburgh-based theatre company hope to raise £1,000 for the re:place community arts cafes project, a pay-it-forward scheme to help homeless and vulnerable people in the area.

Continue reading Theatre company launches crowdfunder to feed and clothe Leith’s homeless

Top 5 ideas for Christmas gifts when you’re on a budget

Currently experiencing the yearly panic attack because you’re still trying to figure out what to give your loved ones for Christmas? We’ve got some tips for you that will also protect your wallet!

  1. Give something that’s already been loved

Thrift shops offer a great variety of gifts that will make your loved ones happy. The best thing about it: The unique items have already been loved by their previous owners and can now make someone new happy. Plus: By buying gifts at thrift shops, you usually support a good cause as well. And, of course, bargains, bargains, bargains!

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  1. Home baked goods are the essence of Christmas, so get yourself some nice little cookie boxes (e.g. from Amazon) and start baking! Or why not try Allrecipes’ formula for the perfect ‘cinnamon stars’?

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  1. Help your loved ones take a break from reality

Books are always a great gift. What could be nicer than a quick escape into a fictional world – where all the Christmas panic can be forgotten quickly and easily?Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 17.16.36.png

Find these at Waterstones and Urban Outfitters.


  1. Remind them of you even after Christmas is over

Give your dearest something that will remind them of you long after Christmas is over – be they very fancy disco cups, their new favourite pyjamas, some warmth from you in form of a very special hot water bottle, or the tape dispenser they always dreamt of…


Find these at Urban Outfitters, H&M, Primark, and New Look


  1. And of course, you can always go for the classics

Some things never get old! Classics, such as cozy socks, shower gel sets, calendars, or Santa Claus in all possible shapes are always a safe bet.



Find these at Primark, The Body Shop, H&M, Superdrug, and Waterstones

And now, happy shopping everyone!



160 youths to endure a night sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh

The sleep out will be taking place on George Street. Source Rock Trust

The Sleep-out for youths, organised by Rock Trust, is due to commence on the 25th November.

12-21 year olds will spend the night sleeping on Edinburgh’s streets in a bid to fundraise for homeless Scottish youths.

The sleep out will be held on George Street, under the watchful eye of Rock Trust volunteers. Rock Trust have been organising the sleep out since its founding  25 years ago, which helps aid the young homeless to find housing.

Last year’s  Sleep Out events raised over £50,000 with the proceeds helping to fund projects around Edinburgh and Lothian shelters.

Continue reading 160 youths to endure a night sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Santa Fun Run and Walk to take place this Sunday

By Abbey Fleming

Edinburgh’s annual Santa Fun Run and Walk will take place this Sunday 13th December to raise money for the charity When You Wish Upon A Star.

Fundraisers will don Santa costumes as they run, walk or stroll through a 2.5km circuit across West Princes Street Gardens.

Organisers say that being a runner is not a requirement to take part in the event and that anyone can get involved regardless of their athletic ability. The track is also suitable for wheelchairs, children in push chairs and dogs on leads.

Owning a Santa costume isn’t necessary as participants will be given a Santa suit on the day when registering.

The Santa Fun Run and Walk will raise money for the charity When You Wish Upon A Star, which takes hundreds of severely ill children to Lapland to meet Santa which the charity says allows the children to ‘swap hospital beds for sleigh rides’.

To take part, runners can either sign up in advance through the website or register on the day.




National Lottery celebrates 20th anniversary

By Carolina Morais

Scottish organisations funded by the National Lottery Council have applauded its “vital” and “valuable” work, as it celebrates it’s 20th anniversary.

The Edinburgh-based charity ‘Dads Rock’, which provides bonding time for dads and their children, is set to expand after the National Lottery awarded it last month with £287,096.

A spokesperson from the organisation said: “We would not be able to function without the National Lottery’s funding. It has been absolutely vital. We have been benefiting since 2012 but this last amount we just got allows us to provide services for three years.

“We are going to run a young dads’ project and invest in parenting counseling . We estimate to help over 200 families in Edinburgh.”

The children’s charity ‘Woodcraft Folk’, focused on developing young people’s social and creative skills, also recognizes the importance of the National Lottery’s support.

A Scottish representative said: “It has been a very valuable help to our organisation. The money we received allowed us to employ more staff and to do more trials to test how to approach children and help them grow.

“Here in Scotland, for example, we were able to do what we called the ‘Summer Sessions 2013’, in Stirling, in which we made some real changes in children’s lives. It has definitely been a very successful partnership for us.

Nicola Bligh, from National Lottery Good Causes, said she is “extremely proud” of what the organisation has accomplished over the last 20 years.

“It has been incredibly important. We raised over 32 billion pounds, we have supported a lot of local projects and we have benefited peoples lives.

“It is amazing how you can benefit people everyday in ordinary sectors. And we created thousands of jobs and volunteering opportunities.

“We recently captured an image that will be released this Wednesday in which we gathered over 800 people from over 50 projects that benefited from our funding over the past 20 years. It is really moving to hear these stories. The numbers of our accomplishments are amazing, but the stories behind them are what really matters.”

Ms Bligh also said: “For the future, we hope more and more projects apply for our funding, which is very easy to do through our website. Our plan, of course, is to repeat what we did over the last 20 years just as successfully and keep changing people’s lives.”

To celebrate two decades of existence, the National Lottery is releasing a new video everyday at 6pm on its website until the 19th of November, allowing people to enter the prize draws which increase in value each day.

The first National Lottery draw was on 14 November 1994. According to the organisation, over 450,000 lottery-funded projects were accomplished and over 3,700 millionaires were made in the United Kingdom.




Grants Aim To End Stigma For Mental Health Sufferers

by Nicola Brown

image source: facebook.com/seemescotland
Caption: See Me logo            Charity fights stigma with £40,000 worth of grants.

In light of the controversial “mental patient” costumes sold by leading Supermarkets, Edinburgh charity ‘See Me’ has recently granted £40,000 to local groups in a battle to change attitudes.

With the stigma of mental illness still the dirty underbelly of Scottish society as shown through Asda and Tesco’s offensive Halloween costumes, a Scottish government initiative aims to tackle these issues. Recent government statistics have revealed that over a third of the population are affected by mental disorders each year. The most common afflictions being depression and anxiety. Yet many sufferers are still being stigmatised, which according to the Mental Health Foundation, can make it harder to recover. The charity ‘See Me’, which is fully funded by the Scottish government, aims to empower these people to speak out in a collective voice.

A spokesperson for See Me, Annie Ashby, said: “[The grants] seek to encourage organisations to take a lead in changing public attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems by engaging with their local community. People with lived experience of mental ill-health have a key role in the delivery of each project.”

The changing attitudes are being achieved through the money awarded to 4 Young People’s Awards and 6 Local Grant Scheme Awards. Among the groups benefiting from the grants is HUG, with the project name ‘Vibrant Highland’, who have been awarded £4,000. The aim is to create a Highland youth group comprising 13-25 year olds with mental health problems. The grant will place them alongside other young people with the aim of educating them about their rights, as well as producing a DVD to highlight how attitudes have affected them. The charity think it important that these young people have a say in vital decisions that will impact their lives.

Another group to be awarded is LGBT Health and Well Being, also given £4,000. The Edinburgh based group is the largest community organisation helping young people affected by the stigma associated with their sexual orientation (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). The grant will fund creative writing workshops held by professionals who have lived with mental illness. The workshops will encourage people afflicted by a diverse range of mental disorders to channel their experiences creatively. The participants writing efforts will then be bound in a book, with the writers offering training and guidance on how to design the layout. The book will be launched at a celebratory public event to raise awareness about their shared experiences.

The way in which society responds to those suffering from mental disorders is improving through the work carried out in the media. Monday night witnessed the twentieth anniversary of the Mind Media Awards. The night played host to journalists, broadcasters, bloggers and documentaries, which celebrated those depicting an accurate picture of mental heath and as a result, challenging the stigma. Chief Executive at Rethink Mental Illness, tweeted: “Very impressive to be celebrating 20 years of#VMGMindAwards great contribution to changing attitudes towards mental health.”

Fashion show raises thousands for charity


A charity fashion show has raised nearly £3,000 for children’s charity CHAS.

Thursday night saw the opening of Edinburgh’s glamourous fashion event which showcases the work of both student and established designers.

The event, organised by students at Edinburgh University, will run a special VIP event tonight (Friday, the 30th) and finish with a general admission performance on Saturday evening.

 For more information or to buy tickets for Saturday go to: http://www.edinburghcharityfashionshow.com/

Spain learns to grow a moustache

Despite the fact that Spain was the first country where Movember was exported from Australia, the campaign has had limited public support.

Movember’s aim is to raise much needed funds and awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and male depression. The international campaign responsible for thousands of men around the world sporting moustaches for a month is now in its eighth year. The collected money is invested on the Global Action Project which is an investigation on prostate cancer.

Today, official campaigns are run in Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, Ireland and the Czech Republic. All these countries share the same goal, to increase male health awareness around the world. However, the number of men taking part differs throughout these countries. Spain holds last position in the number of Movember registrations with 1,101, which is 239,279 less than Canada, who have the highest numbers taking part.

Jaime Lanza, Spanish Movember coordinator, explains why Spain falls behind in participation, “In Spain there is too much disinformation, we do not distinguish between Foundations, NGO’s, Associations or Collectives. Moreover, we are Latins so we have distrust established in our genes. When it is time to put money in a money box, suspicions appear due to tremendous Spanish corruption cases held by politicians and charitable institutions. However, Spain is always very supportive of other causes such as disasters caused by inclemency of the weather (like the Indonesian tsunami or the Chilean earthquake).”

As Jaime Lanza confesses, “Spanish Movember is looking more for the increase of awareness rather than for donations themselves.” That is the first step in making more moustaches grow around Spain. Then the Spanish campaign can become stronger year after year.

Jaime also thinks there could be another reason for this, “Spain could not register its own website until this year. We are the only Latin country with an official campaign, so translations, banks agreements and other things differ from the rest of the countries”.

Juan Garcia, one of the Spanish participants, talks about his own experience as a part of Movember: “I knew about this campaign in my work. A work-mate had the idea to take part in it and some members of staff and myself decided to join him. It is enjoyable; it is the first time that I have let my moustache grow. It is also nice to feel support from people. Nevertheless, the most important fact is the work that Movember does and the feeling that you are part of it.”

Dance against domestic abuse

Scottish Women’s Aid encourages you to put on your dancing shoes
for a good cause this Friday.

The organisation will hold a special charity ceilidh on November 25, in Edinburgh’s City Chambers. Scottish Women’s Aid celebrates its 35th anniversary with The Belle Star Ceilidh Band providing live entertainment.

This event coincides with the beginning of the 16 Days of Action campaign to raise awareness of violence against women.

The fundraiser is just one of several events to be held throughout the coming months.  Other milestones in the anniversary calendar include seminars with influential researchers and activists addressing major developments in the understanding of the issue of gender based violence over the past 35 years.

As part of their anniversary the organisation will also hold an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia at Glasgow Women’s Library from November 26 – December 10.

A spokeswoman for the charity said, “The anniversary events will place the work of Scottish Women’s Aid in its historic, social and cultural context, highlighting connections with other campaigns and other struggles for social justice. The events will look back over the history of Scottish Women’s Aid, celebrating its achievements as well as looking to the challenges that lie ahead.”

For over three decades now the organisation is battling domestic abuse and offers help to them who suffer from it. The services they provide include safe refuge accommodation as well as information and support. Their mission statement is to end violence against women by fighting gender inequality, one of the main causes resulting in abuse. In times where domestic abuse is still a taboo, Scottish Women’s Aid has been ambitiously campaigning for real change throughout the years and has established itself as an important charity organisation.

The ceilidh starts Friday, November 25 at 7.30pm in the Edinburgh City Chambers.

Prices range from £16-£20 for adults and £10 concessions for students and under 16s. All the money goes to Scottish Women’s Aid. Food and a welcome drink are also included in the ticket price.

Grassmarket Community Project says: ‘Count on us!’

Credit: Daniel Schwen

By Edoardo Zandona’

Worried about filling in the census? Now you can ask somebody to help you out.

The Grassmarket Community Project will hold a drop-in session next Tuesday from 10-3pm, to help those struggling to complete this unpleasant but necessary duty. The charity describes it as a “learning and training project for the officially excluded”.

The first Scottish census for 10 years will arrive in 2.5 millions households by March 27. It will include, for the first time, questions about same-sex civil partnerships, as a result of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Tune into Susannah Radford on Edinburgh Napier News Radio at 2.30 pm to find out more.

Listen Here:

12.30 Bulletin

by Catherine Mumford, Susannah Radford, Fearghus Roulston, Orla Nr Sheaghdha

Newsreader Cath reads the latest bulletin


Listen to today’s 12.30 bulletin to join in the debate as questions are asked about aid to Burma. The latest news about the war plane strikes on Ajdabiya from British troops.

Also, find out what charity has been helping with the census.

Listen Here:

Royals support Scottish Venture

by Orla Ni Sheaghdha

Venture Trust helps young people in difficult situations.

Edinburgh based charity Venture Trust is to benefit from the Prince William and Kate Middleton Wedding Gift Fund. The couple are encouraging guests to donate money to charity in lieu of giving them wedding gifts. Venture Trust is one of 26 organisations which are featured on the list. Chief Executive, Greg Barton is delighted about the news. “It’s a wonderful honour to be recognised by Prince William and Miss Middleton for our work with complicated young people across the UK- we’re immensely grateful for their support.”

The charity was founded in 1982 to provide support for young people in difficult situations, particularly young offenders. Venture Trust run three programmes to help disadvantaged and vulnerable people make positive changes in their lives. Inspiring Young Futures supports youths who are in care or who are young carers themselves. Transitions to Independent Living looks after those who may be homeless or have unstable living situations. The Criminal Justice programme provides alternative options for young offenders.

These intensive personal development programmes take place in wilderness settings in order to provide participants with the opportunity to escape pressures they face in their everyday lives. Taking part in physical activities also seems to have a positive effect on the emotional and social wellbeing of those involved in the programme. The Royal Wedding Gift Fund will help to ensure the continued support of these development programmes for young people in the UK and other global projects which are being run by Venture Trust.

Emergency relief fund set up for tsunami victims.

(Image courtesy of: YouReporter.it)

A relief fund has been set up by the GlobalGiving organization to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan last night. The aim of the project is to collect $90,000 to “disburse funds to organizations providing relief and emergency services”, and it is meant to be the first step of a series of international actions for support.

If you wish to contribute to the cause, you can access the project’s webpage here.

Edinburgh bands play gig for Teenage Cancer Trust

By Lisa Toner

Edinburgh guitarist Rory Fitzsimmons has set up a live music event in the city to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust as a tribute to his 18-year-old brother Jamie.

Jamie has been receiving treatment from the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Sick Children’s Hospital for four years and big brother Rory wants to give him “a night he will never forget.”

Rory (left) and his brother Jamie

Rory said: “Jamie has been a patient at the Sick Kids unit since he was 14. We want to raise funds to help TCT, it’s a fantastic organisation who work to make the lives of teenagers with cancer more comfortable and normal.”

The gig named “One More for the Road” will be held at Studio 24 on Thursday. Local bands Still Whisky and The Black Jack Blues Band are on the bill alongside Rory’s own band, hard rock five-piece, Black Cherokee.

Black Cherokee have also written a song dedicated to Jamie, a rock ballad aptly named ‘Brother.’ Rory said: “All of the guys in the band put what they could into the song. It just came together perfectly as we all know Jamie.”

Black Cherokee

The track is due to be released as a fundraising single and all proceeds will go to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Louise Stirton, Teenage Cancer Trust’s fundraising executive for the East of Scotland said: “We’re honoured that Rory and Jamie are hosting this gig for us, they are a really inspiring pair. It’s going to be a great night and everyone should grab a ticket and come and join us!”

The money raised at Thursday’s event will help the teenage cancer charity raise the £1.6m needed for a new unit at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital for young people between 17 and 24 years and for a unit at the new children’s hospital due to open in 2013 for ages 13 to 16 years. Teenage Cancer Trust also have plans to recruit more specialised clinical staff to provide the best care and support for young people.

Tickets for One More for the Road on Thursday 27th January at Studio 24, Carlton Road are £5 and are available at the venue door or from Ripping Records or Has Beans Café.

Copies of Black Cherokee’s ‘Brother’ will also be on sale after the gig.

Find out more about Black Cherokee at www.myspace.com/blackcherokeeband.

Men in moalition to fight cancers

Denton Wilson, Prostate cancer survivor
Denton Wilson, Prostate cancer survivor

by John Stephens

Usually November marks the entrance of winter and the donning of accessories to hold warmth within your body as the winter slowly creeps in like a militant involved in guerrilla warfare. Thermal gloves, waterproof jackets, and ski hats are all seen as necessities… and now, if you are a man so is a moustache.

The moustache is however not purely for heat-retaining properties or as a fashion accessory, but more a symbol. Gavin Brown MSP for the Lothians was willing to share his experience and thoughts on the Movember campaign, as various MSP’s are campaigning and all pitching in to help spread awareness of men’s health issues.

“I was e-mailed by constituents mid-October asking if I was taking part in the campaign. It was then that I decided to do it as it is undoubtedly a good cause and growing a moustache is definitely worthwhile to help address serious issues such as prostate and testicular cancer.” Continue reading Men in moalition to fight cancers

Month of Movember raises cancer awareness

By Morag Hobbs

Movember has this year taken hold of the nations men and raised over £2 million in the UK so far, although has seen many people grow some pretty horrific facial hair in the process.

The charity idea, started in 2003 starts on 1 November with the intention for men to grow their facial hair in the name of raising money toward helping raise awareness for cancers affecting men, mainly prostate cancer, has grown into a widespread phenomena with men all over the country growing moustaches in the name of charity. The website raises awareness of prostate cancer, which is a very serious issue in the UK, with 12% of all cancer deaths being due to this type of cancer, the second highest after lung cancer.

Continue reading Month of Movember raises cancer awareness

Zumbathon Hits Edinburgh

The Zumba dance craze is set to hit Edinburgh this weekend with the Worlds Biggest Zumbathon taking place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston on Sunday.

Zumba dancers

Organised by and in aid of Scottish care charity Quarriers, the event has been endorsed by Zumba, the registered organisation behind the workout craze, and is part of a Guinness world record-breaking attempt for the most people doing Zumba for 30 minutes.

Inspired by Latin dance, the routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat.

Zumba is currently being taught at over 60 000 locations in 105 countries with 7.5 million participants taking classes every week.

David Lowe, who teaches zumba classes in Edinburgh as one half of The Zumba Boys, said why he thinks it has become so popular in recent years:

“It’s not like having an instructor shouting left and right at you. It’s a great way to have fun and to get fit, with a great party atmosphere”.

The Zumba Boys will be two of the official Zumba instructors on hand to show people exactly what to do and people of all fitness levels are invited to take part.

The event will take place simultaneously at the Gorbals Leisure Centre in Glasgow.

As one of Scotland’s largest social care charities, Quarriers provide care and support for thousands of vulnerable children, young people, adults and families. They hope to have up to 1000 people taking part across the country.

Participants can register for the event at http://www.quarriers.org.uk or by calling 01505-610 017 and help raise as much money as possible.

Edinburgh Restaurateurs Come To Pakistan’s Aid

by Kirsty Tobin

Mumbai Mansion, owned by general secretary of the Scottish BCA, Salim Haider

A number of restaurants and takeaways across Edinburgh have this past week taken part in a charitable event raising money for Pakistan Flood Relief.

The event is the brainchild of the Bangladesh Caterers Association of Scotland. Three restaurants and four takeaways throughout the city pledged to donate fifty percent of profits from one night of service to the relief effort. The proceeds from the evening will be given to a representative from the Pakistan High Commission.

Kamal Mahi, a member of staff at the participating Morningside Spice Indian Restaurant, explained what will happen with the money once it has been collected and counted: “from there it’s going to be distributed equally to wherever it’s needed most”.

The evening also benefits from donations given by various providers of produce in the area: “some people have donated lamb, chicken, even vegetables, to the restaurants,” said Mahi.

The profits have not yet been tallied. The committee is meeting on Friday, following the return of the Chairman of the Scottish branch. General Secretary, Salim Haider, expects to be able to make the formal donation early next week.

The participating restaurants have been selected by the heads of the Scottish branch of the BCA.


Radio version of article: Food for Pakistan

Football fans support Casa Alianza

by Sofia Goncalves

by Robin Hammond

Famous for being rowdy and boisterous on the football terraces, Celtic football fans also have big hearts. While their team are campaigning for success in Europe, club supporters are backing a Scottish organisation helping street children from Latin America.

According to Paul Reilly, a Celtic supporter, the club became involved with Casa Alianza after one of the members, Neil Doherty, returned from a trip to Latin America and became aware of the situation of the street children in there. When Mr. Doherty returned to the UK, he suggested the club to start supporting children from Central America.

Paul Reilly says “We started with Casa five years ago. At the moment, we are trying to raise money from the events. We have also supported the street children on the World Cup.” They managed to bring street children from Nicaragua to the World Cup in South Africa, 2010. Other than that, their support “tends to be mainly financial, by publicising it or by writing about them on our newsletter.

“In a longer term, we are looking into having some members to work in Central America.”

Some of the members attended an event organised by Casa Alianza, last saturday. With the race night in the Sacred Heart Church Hall, in Lauriston Street, Casa Alianza raised over 600 pounds to help the street children.

This charity association is trying to get  Scottish Charity status. Their work in Scotland has been to run events, raise awareness to the situation of violence and abuse suffered by the street children, try to encourage volunteers to join Casa, get people to take action by writing letters to the Government and get grants from other associations.

Casa Alianza’s work in Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua is also precious. Mr. Gunson, coordinator of Casa Alianza in Scotland, says “part of the program is to keep up with their education, get them into school or, if they are a bit older, to get them into work placements or short courses. It’s a delicate and slow process. We also try to reintegrate them with their families if there has been no abuse.

“we are trying to build their self-esteem, build up their confidence. Volunteers walk in the streets offering first aid. We also have boarding houses but the children have to want to be there.”

Casa Alianza also has music links, such as Suzanne Vega, or the Isle of Wight Festival and other supporters.

by Robin Hammond

Biggest ever money donation received in charity shop

By Bryanie Kane

Staff at the Cancer Research shop. Credit: BBC News

A charity shop in Glasgow has been left in shock and awe, after a gentleman donated a sum of £20,000.

Members of staff from the Cancer Research UK shop, in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street, are hoping to trace the mystery benefactor in order to say a big thank you. The man, who handed over a sealed envelope with a bankers draft inside, left before anymore could be said. This is believed to be the biggest donation of money ever received in a Cancer Research UK shop, as they receive “£200 at most,” says John File. Now staff of the branch are desperate to find the benefactor. A banner has been raised in a bid to let the man know the sincere thanks felt by the association.

The donation was handed in over three weeks ago but John File, from Cancer Research UK’s Press Office in Scotland, says,”It is important to let people know about this as it raises our profile and helps people understand more about the research which comes from donations like this.”

The money will be used for “research into the basic signs of cancer, how it works. The money will be used completely for helping us find a way of fighting it.”

Mr File also said, “We are used to getting donations of money from legacy; though wills and so on. But to have a donation of this magnitude come into a store is just fantastic.”

This is not the first time the people of Scotland have gone above and beyond for the charity. In October of last year a Beano Annual was donated and reached £4200 at auction, along with a mysterious Hermes bag which was left in a black bin liner.  All of these cases have occurred in the last year, showing that the generosity of the Scottish people has not faltered even with the credit crush upon us.

The Scottish Press Office for the organisation wish to send their sincere thanks to the anonymous donator, “We would like to let him know that the money is going to be used completely for research and it was amazing what he has done. So we would like to say a huge thank you and just hope he hears it.”

Bagpipe Busking across the USA

Photo courtesy of Dave Wilson

By Lauren Witherspoon

Widespread redundancies are now commonplace, but Rob Calder saw it as an opportunity to do something different. After uninspiring interviews and no clear vision of what he wanted to do, the bagpiper from Edinburgh had an epiphany.

“I was actually just coming back from football one night thinking to myself; “what am I going to do this summer? Then I thought, I’ll just go travelling and take my bagpipes with me and busk? And it was one of these ideas that just really blossomed. I decided to do it to raise money for charity.””

“The thing about American’s is that they all love to find out about their identity and origins,” said Rob. “If they’ve got Scottish connections, ninety percent of them just lap it up and they want to know more.”

Unfortunately, one American didn’t want hear any more, as Rob was given a New York welcome on his first day in the Big Apple. “Somebody threw a bucket of water out a first floor window” Rob explained. “Most of it missed me but it made me feel miserable, I was just about to knock it on the head but this guy asked me to keep playing and in the end I made about 50 bucks.”

Ignoring advice on wearing earplugs, Rob played every day of his seven-week one-man tour that saw him travel from the East to West coast of America. Starting off in New York and heading south through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and then crossing the continent through the southern states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and finally making his way to San Francisco through Arizona and Colorado. “I’d commit to doing it every day, and there was some days when I thought I just couldn’t face it and I was getting so stressed out about it, but I always played. Even if it was nine o’clock at night outside a football ground or a baseball ground I forced myself to play.

“Once you get started it’s always fine but there was always that feeling of “Oh My God, can I really face drawing attention to myself again with this bloody loud instrument? That you sort of think people aren’t gong to enjoy. You almost try to talk yourself out of it. I am really proud that I played every single day.”

In Denver, Colorado, the police came to the response of a complaint. “I thought I was going to get arrested but they were absolutely great, they really enjoyed the bagpipes. I had my picture taken with them and they were a real laugh.”

At the Grand Canyon Rob saw an opportunity to boost the money he would be handing over to the Edinburgh charity Ecas. “I just turned up and started playing.” The scenic views were a perfect backdrop,” Rob told. “…people were really emotional, it was just as the sun was setting as well so it was beautiful. People were really generous.  I met a Scottish couple who came across and we started chatting for a while, it was nice to hear a familiar accent.”

The most financially successful destination on route, Rob intended on repeating his Scottish serenade the next day but was turned away due to laws that protect the peace of the historic site. “It was a bit of a downer, but I’m glad I did it ‘cos it was a great place to play the pipes.”

For now it is back to the daily grind for Rob but would he take on another globe-trotting challenge? “I think the conditions would have to be right for met do it again because now I have got a job. It’s one of these things that if have a got a few weeks to kill then I’ll definitely go and do it again, maybe in a different country.”

Rob completed his busking tour in organisation the summer of 2009 and raised over £5000 for Edinburgh charity Ecas, which is a voluntary organisation dedicated to giving practical and friendly help to physically disabled people.

Pyjama parties pull in cash for kids

by Emma Craig and Megan Berkley

Pyjama parties with a twist have been held in Edinburgh to raise money for children.

Oxgangs Primary School has been one of many to take part in fundraising for Children in Need.

On Friday both school children and teachers came dressed in their pyjamas for lessons.

Their donations raised a grand total of £159 between three infant classes.

As well as seeing their favourite teachers don their pyjamas the children learnt about disadvantaged youngsters their own age.

This week also saw the launch of New Pyjamas campaign, hosted by Jack McConnell and George Foulkes in the new Sick Kids hospital.

The money raising drive has a target of £15m for the hospital and has already pledged funds for a drop-in centre, helping to make it a centre of excellence in Scotland.

The money raised by the pyjama fund will go towards the building of the new hospital and the purchase of the best equipment.

Elaine McGonigle, director of the charity said: “It’s about doing something a bit different, and getting senior politicians wearing their pyjamas helps get more people in. Everyone quite enjoys it.”

The Charity organiser recognised the success of the event however hopes for even more support.

Ms McGonigle added: “We need everyone to get behind this, and if everyone in Scotland gave as little at £3, we would reach our target in no time.”

It’s hoped the new building should be completed around 2013.

Jack McConnel Speaks:

George Foulkes Speaks:

Miss Mery Oxgangs Primary Teacher Speaks:

Scotland begins fundraising frenzy

Scotland is gearing up for what promises to be another record breaking Children in Need fundraising day on the 20th of November.

pudsey bear

After getting past the £2 million mark for the first time last year, efforts are being increased across the country to try to raise the money-making bar even higher.

The BBC’s charity is now in its 29th year and has raised over half a billion pounds for underprivileged children in the UK.

Every penny counts towards giving a child a better future, so whether you sit in a bath of baked beans to raise money, get your legs waxed or cycle over 10,000 miles like Mark Beaumont, every effort is appreciated by Pudsey bear and his team.

going through the pain barrier for Children in Need

“We are overwhelmed by the support of people right across the UK every year as we know that for many people these are difficult times,” said a spokesman.

“The generosity and commitment shown last year which helped us raise £36 million allowed us to make a difference in many young lives.

“We thank all of the people across the country who have organised or are participating in a fundraising event for your amazing efforts.”

Edinburgh student run charity, Children’s Holiday Venture received a £2000 grant from Children in Need in September of this year and are reaping the benefits now.

Claire Austin, the charity’s vice president was delighted to receive the funding: “It was a fantastic boost to get such a generous sum.

“It is really going a long way with helping the children as we help greater numbers in better ways.

“We all enjoy our regular swimming trips but we now have better opportunities to go on day trips which are more fun and educational.”

She added: “The work Children in Need do each year goes such a long way to helping so many charities like us around the UK and the support the receive from the public is fantastic.

“We can’t thank everyone who helps enough for their generous donations.”

The live telethon starts at 7 o’clock on BBC 1 so tune in for all sorts of fundraising fun.

If you want to get involved the check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey/news/map.shtml to find out what’s happening in your area.