About the Company
The Lewis Foundation is a charity that provides free gifts and support packs to adult cancer patients in hospital – items they might find difficult to buy themselves or could simply not afford. It was founded in 2016 by Lorraine and Lee Lewis after they lived through more than four years of hospital visits when Lee’s mum had cancer treatment.
Recognising the challenges, upset and loneliness for individuals and their loved ones, the duo set about sourcing donations, and packaging and delivering gifts and support items directly to patients in oncology wards, and The Lewis Foundation was born.
Now working with a team of almost 50 volunteers and hundreds of regular supporters, The Lewis Foundation works closely with hospitals across the Midlands to hand-deliver thousands of gift packs each week.
Pilkington Communications has always been very focused on supporting charities, and it was working with organisations such as The Lewis Foundation that helped to shape the ‘Adapt, Recover, Rebuild’ package of support. The Lewis Foundation needed to improve its communications with potential corporate sponsors and businesses, and they also wanted to branch out into other regions. At the time they were only working with six hospitals.
The work with The Lewis Foundation originally began before Covid-19 hit. An initial strategy meeting was held where some key pointers were established and then a plan of action was created. The plan covered a range of tasks, such as:
All this work was started and then Covid-19 hit. Plans for the birthday fundraiser had to be changed. But Pilkington Communications wasted no time in devising a new proposal for a virtual fundraiser in September 2020 called ‘The Lap of Honour’.
It was entirely participant-led, with people choosing a distance (or lap) to complete in whichever way they wanted – walking, running, jumping, skipping etc. Pilkington Communications helped The Lewis Foundation recruit a team of ten ambassadors to support the promotion of the event. This was alongside also setting up a dedicated webpage, issuing press releases throughout the fundraiser, gaining broadcast media coverage, and liaising with some of the key players to help boost the fundraising.
Outcomes and Results
The Lap of Honour event raised almost £3,500, but more than that, the work that Pilkington Communications did helped to set up some basic communication tools that The Lewis Foundation can use well into the future.
They still use the MailChimp ENewsletter template today, and it put them in a good place in 2020 when Covid hit, meaning they could still communicate with people in a very easy way. They also have press release templates and a much improved website which will only help with future fundraising activities.
On top of all that, the planned activity also helped to secure more hospitals for The Lewis Foundation to work with. During the initial strategy meeting, the charity was working with six hospitals. Now they are very proud to be working with ten.
The Lewis Foundation managed to secure some Comic Relief funding meaning they are able to do more work with Pilkington Communications. The next steps are to make further improvements to the website, and they have just received news that a new website has been gifted to the charity, saving them thousands of pounds. In addition, Pilkington Communications will be creating a press campaign that will appeal for other businesses to support them.
Other long term plans are to focus on launching a Friends of Scheme and increasing the gift pack donations. To ensure that there isn’t a loss of momentum, Pilkington Communications will be doing some FOC work to plug gaps between funding.
Lorraine comments: “When Covid hit we didn’t know what we were going to do and we were so worried that we wouldn’t be able to continue our work. Pilkington Communications reacted so quickly, finding such a good event that people could easily get involved with and that was great fun. More than just coming up with the idea, though, they did an incredible job in getting word out about it. They really know what they’re doing when it comes to communication.”