St Mary’s relies on the community it serves – we can’t exist without it. Local businesses play a vital role in supporting St Mary’s, including Stollers Furniture World. Stollers selected St Mary’s Hospice as its Charity of the Year to benefit from an inspiring range of community initiatives and events.
Trading since 1905, Stollers is a fourth generation family business, proud to have built strong relationships with their customers over many generations. With this firm standing in the South Cumbria community, it made perfect sense for the furniture store and more to help St Mary’s Hospice to mark its 30th Anniversary year with a calendar of events and activities.
Owner Lee Stoller explains “We are approached by local charities regularly, looking for donations of raffle prizes for example. We can give someone a lamp, that might be worth £30 and help to raise a bit of money, but I wanted to try something different. After discussions with Helen Carlson, Head of Fundraising at St Mary’s, I saw the benefits of working more alongside the charity and developing our relationship. By working together, over a longer period of time, it’s been more meaningful for the staff and the rewards for all concerned have been greater”.
With a rich history of customer service and creativity, it’s not surprising that the young entrepreneurship challenge of ‘The Battle to Succeed’ drew on Stollers’ support and expertise. The store sponsored students from the Pupil Referral Unit in their fundraising efforts, coaching them and allowing them to sell their ‘Odd Bods’ doorstops and key rings in the store as well as providing financial sponsorship. General Manager Neill Berry comments “We got a real buzz from being involved in the Battle to Succeed – the products flew out of the door! We’re excited to be involved again this year and help the students learn new skills while raising money for St Mary’s”.
Like and share competitions are likely to pop up on everyone’s social media, but for a business to commit a donation for each like and share to their charity is not so common place. Stollers donated 25p from each new like and share for their business page over a 2 week period at the beginning of May, resulting in a donation of over £200 for the hospice.
Stollers’ latest and biggest fundraiser took the form of a ‘Forget-me-not Garden Party’, complete with Abba tribute band and silent disco. The guests enjoyed a choice of food from Deli.sh, specially prepared cocktails from Kindred Spirits as well as digging deep to buy raffle tickets and bid for money can’t buy auction prizes. Service Operations Manager Lisa Kendrick was heavily involved in organising the event. “Everyone we approached was so generous and willing to help, we couldn’t have done it without the donations and good will of so many people” she says, “And while it took a lot of organising, the night went by in a flash! Everyone had a brilliant time and we are thrilled with how much money it raised”. A huge £16,494.20 was generated by the party, a significant donation for the hospice, and money that will be much needed as its current recruitment crisis is resolved.
Lee concludes “It’s great to feel that we are making a real difference and to have a better understanding of how the money raised will be used. I’m proud of what we have achieved, to have done something that matters, and look forward to seeing how we can build on the lessons learned for future events and activities.”
Area Fundraiser Clare Paling adds “Stollers’ commitment and enthusiasm for supporting the hospice has been amazing. All donations, big and small, from our brilliant community, make a difference. For a corporate supporter to have gone above and beyond in the way Stollers have is setting an exceptional example – we hope it can inspire others to realise that doing something to help us raise our much needed funds is infinitely better than doing nothing”.