Raising Funds for MIND – How it started
Lauren Steadman (Triple British Paralympian Triathlete) approached us during the Covid-19 Lockdown in the UK. Her intention was in raising funds for MIND during Mental Health Week 2020.
At the time, Lauren was competing in the Celebrity Who Dares Wins programme being aired on C4, although it had been filmed months previously. Lauren was able to contact the participants and Directing Staff. Many of them offered to support her by posting photos and videos on their social media channels to spread the word of the project. They all embraced the idea of raising funds for MIND and volunteered to help. Within a week, the ‘Stronger Than You Think’ logo had been conceived, designs offered and chosen. Together we built a website and the first tshirts made and sent to the influencers.
Coping during Covid Lockdown
These were unusual times, during the full UK wide Lockdown. Our postal service was sporadic and supplies of tshirts hard to source. The first influencers went ‘live’ on 15th May. That first weekend the new website (www.sizu-minds.myshopify.com) sold 1300 tshirts. And sales continued, in their 100’s every single day.
We struggled to get supplies, when international shipping was effectively cancelled and most of our suppliers were shut. Many of their warehouses were unable to adapt to early Covid legislation, which presented a big challenge. We were able to operate but with much reduced staff, lots of social distancing and from a home based workshop. Cast your mind back to those worrying times at the end of May 2020. You will remember that lockdown had been gently lifted for manufacturing industries, and so we were able to get back to work with Covid industry standard regulations in place. Not only was the project fundraising for MIND, but locally we were able to spread a little happiness. We engaged a team of home workers (to fold and pack the tees). During the better weather, we had a team of casual staff eager to be busy and socialise from a distance, in the garden picking and packing. Laughter and happiness hopefully was captured in each tee we printed and packed.
Lauren Steadman and her business partner Tammy Scobell were incredibly patient during those difficult early days. Although we had never met in person, we soon set up a strong working relationship and understanding. I am sure many customers, ringing up to chase their order, were surprised to find them speaking to the ‘actual’ Lauren Steadman, the joint winner of SAS Celebrity Who Dares Wins 2020, they had been watching on the TV that week! Oh to be a fly on that wall!
The result – £20K raised for MIND in just four weeks. Right at a time that recognition of our mental health had never been so important.