A new fundraising initiative to support the North East’s beleaguered charity sector is asking the public to get involved to support their favourite good causes.

The Great Northern Raffle has been established to raise money for many worthwhile causes. It is a monthly free to enter raffle via text with the option to leave a voluntary donation.

Fourteen fantastic North East charities will benefit from the September draw, with a great array of prizes up for grabs.

For the whole of September entrants can text a specific code to 70085 to enable their donation to go to an individual charity or the generic ‘GNRAFFLE’ to split their donation between all the participating organisations.

Since COVID-19, all physical fundraising events such as charity balls, afternoon teas and quizzes have been cancelled or postponed. This has had devastating consequences for the sector, with a significant shortfall in the fundraising that enables the vital work carried out by the charities to continue.

For every £5 text donation the participating regional charities will receive £4.70 (94%) with the third-party text service receiving 25p plus VAT (30p) to administer the raffle.  Keywords will enable entrants to choose a charity to receive their donation, or for the money to benefit all the participating good causes.

The Middleton Foundation, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeremy Middleton, will collect, and distribute the donations to the charities.

The charities that will benefit from the September draw are:

  • Percy Hedley Foundation
  • Remembering Rebecca
  • Grace House
  • If U Care Share
  • CHUF
  • Heel & Toe
  • Dragonfly Cancer Trust
  • Dementia Matters
  • Tiny Lives
  • Disability North
  • North East STEM
  • Maggie’s Newcastle
  • uS Active
  • Newcastle United Foundation

Jeremy Middleton said:  “It is our hope that the Great Northern Raffle will provide a real boost to our region’s charities at a time when many are facing their biggest challenge to date in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It has been reported that one in ten charities are facing bankruptcy by the end of the year as they struggle to cope with declining revenue and increased demand for their services.

“We are aware that smaller, locally based charities are especially exposed to the effects of the crisis with two-thirds having to make cuts to the services so many local people rely on.

“Now is the time for the North East to throw its weight behind the amazing organisations that do so much good for local people and communities across the region.

“The Great Northern Raffle is a simple way to do this, but if everyone gets behind it, it can be a very effective way to ensure we do not lose our third sector, which would be catastrophic for so many individuals and families.

“My message – you’ve got to be in it to win it, so text now!”

Laura Jane Forbes, corporate fundraiser, Grace House North East said:  “Grace House is delighted to be part of the Great Northern Raffle. The money raised will allow us to continue enriching the lives of disabled children and their families across the North East and the fact that our supporters will be in with the chance of winning some amazing prizes as well makes it a win win!”

Dominic McDonough, fundraising & events manager, If U Care Share Foundation, said: “The Great Northern Raffle is perfect for smaller charities such as If U Care Share Foundation. It is a tough time for us at the moment as demand has risen whilst fundraising has dropped.  The Great Northern Raffle will help us to raise much needed funds, helping us to continue to save lives and help some of the most vulnerable people in the North East.

“It takes the leg work out of fundraising, allowing us to continue our life saving work whilst engaging with more people than ever. A fantastic idea that will help charities right here in our region.

“The Great Northern Raffle raises money for the North East from the North East, allowing local people to give generously to charities who support our communities, whilst having the chance to win amazing prizes.”

Suzanne McKenna, head of fundraising, The Percy Hedley Foundation said:  “Percy Hedley is absolutely thrilled to be one of the benefitting charities of the new Great Northern Raffle!  We’ve been supporting disabled people across the North East for almost 70 years and its support means more than ever during these very challenging times.

“As so many of our usual ways of raising vital funds for our work have been cancelled or postponed this year, we are so grateful to Charity Escapes for creating the Great Northern Raffle to support Percy Hedley and so many other fantastic local charities.”

Details on how to enter, the prizes and the full terms and conditions are on the website https://www.charityescapes.com/the-great-northern-raffle/

Prizes include a cottage break for six in Seahouses, Crafters Companion hamper, Pink Boutique voucher, Dinner at Redworth Hall and a night’s stay at Malmaison Newcastle. For future raffles prizes have been donated by Brewin Dolphin, Sintons, Broad Chare Partners and many more.