Raising money to support disabled people

Local authorities pay us some fees to support disabled people at home. This pays for essential support — but it only covers the basics. And we want to offer more than that.

Three Can Do volunteersWe raise money to go the extra mile — it pays for transport and helps us to recruit volunteers to support disabled people get out and about in their communities. It pays for IT services which connect them to other people. The money also pays for our programmes like Can Do and Change100 which support getting young disabled people into work.

All the work we do internationally is paid for with fundraised income. Without it, 5,500 disabled children would have been denied an education and nearly 8,000 disabled adults in Africa and Asia would not have acquired the skills to get them into work.

In the last year, we received over £17.8m (£12.4m in 2013/14) in donations from over 17,000 people, companies, lottery distributors and charitable trusts.

What we achieved last year

Increasing our voluntary income for our UK services

This year, we received £300,000 more than the year before. Much of this was raised by the tremendous efforts of our services themselves, through events from Christmas fêtes to fundraising balls. The money has gone towards technology that promotes greater independence by enabling disabled people to communicate or perform tasks they were formerly unable to accomplish, as well as new vehicles, a sensory garden, and physiotherapy equipment.

We also had some extremely generous donations from other sources. Our Can Do programme received a three-year grant of £480,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, while Howdens Joinery doubled their funding for the programme to celebrate our 10-year partnership. Howdens also continued to install more state-of- the-art fully accessible kitchens into many of our services. We’re indebted to them, and to all of the corporate partners who support us.

We also secured funding for our Commonwealth Challenge project, which gives disabled people in Scotland the chance to try art workshops and sports. It will culminate in special events, where almost 200 disabled people will celebrate the legacy of the Commonwealth Games.

Our kitchen gardens at Bells Piece support the innovate Seed to Plate skills project for disabled people. Sadly, these gardens were vandalised — so in August we raised emergency funds to restore them. We ran an online fundraising appeal, and promoted it through local media and emails to the community. We raised £9,000 in a matter of days, which meant we could restore the gardens for people to enjoy.

Increasing funding for our international work

Income received for our international work, including from statutory partners such as the Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission, reached £4.5m.

We renewed our partnership with Accenture which means that we can extend our Access to Livelihoods programme across Asia and introduce it to South Africa. The programme will help more than 13,000 disabled people in six countries to learn new skills.

Also, our research team at University College London was awarded a prestigious, major research grant from the DFID-funded Economic and Social Research Council. We strengthened our relationship with the European Commission too. They awarded us three separate three-year grants:

  • to stop violence against disabled women in India
  • to support disabled people in Northern Uganda
  • to support inclusive education for disabled children in Zambia

Also, Comic Relief supported a new three-year programme for disabled children in Zambia’s Southern and Lusaka provinces. It will help 1,200 disabled children to enrol in school, and provide health assessments to an extra 29,000 school-age children.

Growing sustainable unrestricted income

Our unrestricted income increased from £8.2m to £11.2m.

Four smiling cyclists setting off at Cycle Together 2014

Over 1,500 people raised money for us by running, cycling or taking part in a triathalon. Some of these represented us in high-profile events such as the London Marathon and Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon. Others took part in some of the accessible events we organised ourselves, such as Cycle Together: an accessible cycling event where disabled people cycled alongside their non-disabled peers.

In December, we were selected as the beneficiary charity for the annual Oxford v Cambridge Varsity rugby match. More than 200 people attended a fundraising event before the game and raised more than £20,000. We are delighted that we have been chosen again as a partner for the 2015 event.

A significant amount was raised through gifts left in wills. We are always very moved by being remembered in this way, often by people who have been known to us through our services, or who have supported us over many years.

Alongside all this, one of our biggest sources of unrestricted income is from those many thousands of supporters who generously give to us regularly, by direct debit or by supporting our appeals.

Joanne running the London Marathon for our charity‘I decided to run the London Marathon for Leonard Cheshire because they are simply amazing!

‘My Dad, who has locked-in syndrome, was lucky enough to be moved to a Leonard Cheshire care home and his quality of life has improved dramatically. The impact this has had on us all as a family has been phenomenal.

‘The care that Dad receives is outstanding and the activities made available to residents are just brilliant. The charity was a brilliant support and point of contact through this challenge – it was an honour to run for Leonard Cheshire.’ — Joanne Bradley, London Marathon runner 2014

What we will do in the next year

In the coming year, we will build on the successful pilots and initiatives we started this year:

  • Work with local services to fundraise for better facilities and opportunities for the disabled people that they support.
  • Expand our international fundraising so that we can make a difference to more disabled people around the world.
  • Promote giving a gift through a will as a way of extending the legacy of people who have
  • supported us throughout their lifetime.

‘It was great to meet everyone at The Manor and we were made to feel so welcome. We have seen first-hand the difference the charity makes to the lives of disabled people and every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a big difference.’ — Harry Peck, Cambridge University rugby captain

Spotlight on volunteering

Volunteer committeeBehind our individual fundraisers are many volunteers, generously giving up their time to run fundraising committees. These committees run events of all shapes and sizes, from school fêtes and fun-runs to balls.

For instance, the team at Marske Hall worked tirelessly over the last year to raise over £21,000. Their events include a summer and Christmas fête as well as a gala ball. Whatever they raise, we’re extremely grateful to all of our committees across the UK.