In a guest blog written by volunteers from the Poole RESULTS group, find out how they've been getting creative with campaigning for UK Aid.
Cream Tea Fundraising - Saturday 24th, Sunday 25th August
The group has wanted to organise a cream team event in our local village hall for some time, and we were offered the dates for the August bank holiday back in April. Straight away we realised it would be the Bank Holiday weekend so we might have a problem staffing the event, but several friends came to our rescue.
The trust which runs the hall in the village of Sturminster Marshall provides all the equipment we need, in exchange for 20% of the takings, or £30, whichever is the greater. They set the prices charged, the menu, and high standards, and all we need to provide are cakes and scones, cream and jam, and people power. We were able to keep all the takings from extra fundraising activities such as a tombola, and stalls selling plants, books and jams and chutneys.
Cream teas are provided by a different group every weekend during the summer, meaning there are regular customers from the surrounding villages. Naturally we all encouraged our friends and relatives to come and support us too. This year we were lucky to have lovely weather for both days, which helped us raise the £600 we were able to send to RESULTS!
Taking Action at Harmans Cross Fete – Monday 26th August
The following day, Angela Joynson and Helen and Reg Davis set up a stall at Harmans Cross Fete near Swanage in Dorset. It's an annual event attended by hundreds of people between 12 noon and 4.30 pm, with many stalls, a flower and produce show, children’s activities and a dog show. We crammed our car with a gazebo, tables, chairs, a banner and posters and leaflets, and arrived in the field before the grass dried in the sunshine.
Our primary aim was to ask people to complete prepared postcards which asked for support for, and protection of, the overseas aid budget. Each person inserted the name of his/her MP, or with their postcode we agreed to insert the MPs names ourselves. The visitors were invited to add why they considered this to be important.
We engaged in conversation with lots of local people and collected 28 signed postcards, addressed to 14 different MPs. Others took the postcards away with the promise to complete and post them. Our star was Angela who succeeded in securing many of the completed cards.
A few people refused - some with strong opposing views. But even here we were able to engage in conversation and dispel some of the misleading and inaccurate information behind their opinions. Some of these misconceptions centred on money siphoned away by corrupt governments; giving of aid to the Indian Government when they spent millions on space exploration, as well as thinking that far more money was spend on aid.
Although the number of completed postcards sounds small, we realised that these conversations could have a ripple effect. We hope that newly informed people will spread what they learned about threats to the UK aid budget.
Our “hook” to attract people to the stall was a table with a grid covered with one hundred pennies. We explained that this money represented the UK's Gross National Income (GNI), and a asked people to guess what proportion of it we spent on Overseas Aid. GNI needed some careful explanation, and we conveyed that this income was all we spent on our health service, education, defence and indeed all the money our government spends in the UK.
There was a range of answers from three quarters to less than a penny. Few people knew the answer, with most giving an answer between 5 to 10 pennies. After each guess we turned over one penny which was highlighted with 0.7 shading. Many were very surprised at what a small proportion we gave in Overseas Aid.
Arriving home after packing away and driving in Bank Holiday traffic, we were tired but felt that it had been a most enjoyable and interesting day. We were pleased that we had the opportunity to talk to so many about the importance of protecting UK Aid.
Thank you to the Poole group for their outstanding efforts!