Introducing BBOWT – the BlueSKY chosen charity for 2021

For many, 2020 was a year to forget. From devastating wildfires to a global pandemic, the last twelve months have challenged millions of us. You only have to look at the sobering global fatality numbers for Covid-19 – 1.9 million and rising – to understand the impact of the virus.

As we head into 2021 in another lockdown, it’s easy to be downbeat about the prospects for this year. However, there are reasons to be optimistic.

One of the positive outcomes of 2020 was the way in which communities – both locally and nationally – pulled together to achieve great things. The efforts of Captain Tom Moore and Marcus Rashford demonstrate how public figures can inspire us all.

Read on for a look back at our own charitable efforts in 2020, and how you can help us this year.

More than £1,300 raised for our 2020 charity

A year ago, we chose the mental health charity MIND as our good cause for 2020. In the past we’ve looked at the close link between mental and financial wellbeing, and so it was a no-brainer to choose a charity committed to supporting mental health.

Of course, at the start of 2020 we had little idea what the year would bring and just how important the services MIND provide would be (and continue to be). They have seen a significant rise in demand for their services during the Covid-19 pandemic and we were therefore delighted to be able to support their work through our fundraising efforts.

Over the year, we hosted a range of events to raise funds:

  • Our Sunflower Challenge – we asked you to grow the tallest sunflower you could over the summer, and our winner reached a mighty three and a half metres!
  • A Christmas raffle
  • Our famous Christmas quiz – you kindly made donations to MIND when you downloaded our tricky family quiz
  • Our team donated unused holidays

Taking into account the matched donations from BlueSKY, we raised a total of £1,310 for MIND in 2020.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our efforts. There’s still time to donate if you’d like to – indeed, why not contribute a few pounds and download our quiz to have a crack at during lockdown?

Our chosen charity for 2021

Another reason for optimism in 2021 is that climate change and the environment are set to remain near the top of the political agenda, both in the UK and overseas.

In 2018, more than a quarter (26%) of global energy consumption for heating, power and transportation was from renewable energy sources. Experts predict this will rise to 45% by 2040, with most of it coming from solar, wind, and hydropower.

The UK hosts the UN Climate Change Conference in 2021, and with the US set to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, positive action is being taken around the world to tackle environmental issues.

As the demand for ESG investing – funds that consider environmental, social, and governance issues – grows, we will be introducing a ‘green’ investment strategy (to sit alongside our existing proposition) in 2021.

In line with this, we therefore felt it appropriate to support a ‘green’ cause this year. Lockdown has shown us all how important green spaces are, and positive proponents of change such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg are powerfully advocating for action.

So, after consultation with the whole team, we have decided to choose the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) as our chosen charity in 2021.

BBOWT is committed to restoring nature across these three counties and empowering people to connect with their local wildlife. The charity manages local habitats and works with more than 1,700 volunteers to look after 85 nature reserves and four education centres. The trust also runs hundreds of amazing events, and campaign to make nature’s recovery a reality.

Our hope is that, as the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine enables a return to normality, we can all get involved with local conservation work and tree-planting initiatives. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing a range of fundraising ideas as we go through 2021 to raise vital funds for this local cause.

Keep an eye out in our monthly updates and on our website for more information over the next few weeks and months.