Charity Spotlight: CreateBolton
One of the most rewarding things about our work at Chell Perkins is joining our partner charities to celebrate the incredible work they do. Over the summer, we helped our long-term partner CreateBolton, whose tenth anniversary it is this year, to host their first ever fundraising event.
CreateBolton is a grassroots arts organisation that provides free creative programmes for people in Bolton struggling with poor mental and physical health. CreateBolton began as an open craft workshop for an hour a week at Claremont Church, Bolton. However, demand soon led their founder Joy to leave her job in social work to deliver creative programmes full-time. Five years later, when Chell Perkins first came on board, CreateBolton was a small but bustling organisation with 40 dedicated volunteers running their community café, allowing Joy to focus solely on creative care. We journeyed with CreateBolton through the pandemic, helping them secure some critical funding from the National Lottery and the Garfield Weston Foundation, ensuring they could accommodate the huge demand for their services after such unprecedented isolation.
As the charity entered their tenth year, we knew we wanted to plan something bigger and more creative than ever to celebrate all of their members’ amazing achievements! And what better way to do this and announce CreateBolton’s vision for the next ten years than to hold a fundraising event?
One of CreateBolton’s strengths is the dedication of its volunteers. This was key in enabling us to create a magical evening for the charity’s supporters without a huge budget. Volunteers are often overlooked by charities when it comes to fundraising, although they are usually a charity’s best and most passionate advocates! With the help of volunteers, we transformed Claremont Church Hall into a luxurious venue by setting up a marquee, chandeliers, canopy ceiling and even a red carpet! Further volunteer support came from a Create Community member who made cakes for the evening, saving a considerable amount of money on professional catering.
One of our main aims for the event was to ensure that CreateBolton’s heart for inclusiveness, creativity and community shone through. We knew that members of the community needed to be involved in making the night really special and even helping us to raise some vital funding along the way. A fundraising highlight of the night was the auction of vases, each designed and handmade by talented Create Community members. Fifteen vases were made and placed as centrepieces on each table, along with a catalogue of the whole collection for guests to look at. The vase auction raised over £1,200 in generous bids – this is a great example of how creativity can make a simple fundraiser unique and exciting.
It is important to have a specific goal in mind when planning any fundraising event. Therefore, CreateBolton began asking their community early in 2023 about the changes that members wanted to see for the charity. Improving the community café was a popular theme, so in the following months the charity drew up comprehensive plans, taking into account volunteers', members' and visitors' feedback. At the event in July, CreateBolton unveiled their plans for the new café, kitchen and serving area, complete with the non-slip floor that volunteers wanted and the coffee machine that café regulars had requested. Our work leading up to the event meant CreateBolton could present fully informed plans, an explanation of the project’s benefits for the community, and a clear fundraising goal for the money they needed to raise. As a result, we raised nearly 30% of our goal on the night.
A final touch of creativity was the homemade goody bags given to each attendee at the event. The charity's members helped to design and make unique clay keyrings for supporters to take home, giving them a lasting memory of the special night and, most importantly, marking them as a member of CreateBolton’s beloved community.
CreateBolton’s ten-year anniversary event raised over £10,000 in one-off and regular giving commitments – over 10% of their annual income last year!