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In its biggest ever year of fundraising, Boots UK customers and colleagues have donated a record-breaking £1.5 million to help support disadvantaged children across the UK

Boosted by the brand new campaign, Jump for Pudsey where children and families across the UK jumped almost two million times for Pudsey Bear, Boots UK celebrates its biggest year of fundraising by raising £1.5 million in important funds for an amazing charity, BBC Children in Need.

These funds will go to helping disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. Children facing a range of disadvantages will benefit from the money raised, for example, children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect, or children living with a range of disabilities or life changing conditions. Making a difference and changing the lives of these young children is very important to Boots UK, which has been working together with BBC Children in Need to help children reach their full potential for 13 years and has now raised over £10 million for the charity.

Boots colleagues have been jumping, cycling, baking, dressing up, dancing, and buying and selling Pudsey bears and ears to raise money, and its biggest fundraising event of 2016 was Jump for Pudsey, a new campaign which was launched in partnership with British Gymnastics. As well as raising money, Jump for Pudsey is about inspiring the nation to get more active, driven by the insight that one in three children are leaving primary school overweight or obese1 and half of seven year olds aren’t getting the recommended amount of exercise daily2.  Since the campaign launched in October, almost two million jumps have been recorded on the Boots Totaliser.

Elizabeth Fagan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Boots, comments: “BBC Children in Need is a charity close to all of our hearts, and this has been an incredible year for our partnership. Not only is this the biggest amount that our colleagues and customers have fundraised and donated, but we are working at a local level with BBC Children in Need projects to support them in ways that only Boots can. Our colleagues are giving young people access to mentoring and work experience, whilst sharing their knowledge about healthy living. These local partnerships are driven by our colleagues’ care for the children in their communities, and to help them live happier and healthier lives.”

One of the charities currently supported by BBC Children in Need is WECIL, West of England Care for supporting Independent Living, an organisation run by and for disabled people, which has been supported by BBC Children in Need since 2014. Based in Bristol, WECIL provides a range of services that assist over 4,000 disabled people every year - including young people and children - to have more choice and control over their own lives. For example, their youth group supported by BBC Children in Need provides a supportive space for both disabled and non-disabled young people to come together, share experiences, and socialise away from their parents or carers. They also take part in activities that help to develop their independence and life skills, such as going food shopping and cooking, as well as social outings like bowling.

Boots UK teams in Bristol have been working with WECIL for around three months, fundraising and joining forces with the charity to offer mentoring, work experience, and temporary and permanent employment opportunities with Boots UK. Offering access to work opportunities helps to build the confidence of the young people the charity supports.

Stephen Dolby, WECIL’s Business and Relationship Manager, comments: “It’s fantastic to see all the support for BBC Children in Need, especially around this time of year. Without it, we would not be able to provide the groups for disabled young people to develop and grow, and learn the skills that will enable them to have more choice and control over their lives as they get older. Partnerships such as that which we have with Boots, strengthen this further by providing opportunities for disabled people (such as work experience) which are often much harder to access. We believe that communities are stronger when everyone has the opportunity to contribute, and it is partnerships such as this that work towards cultivating a healthier, more inclusive society.”

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need comments, “BBC Children in Need and Boots UK have been working in Partnership for 13 years, and 2016 marks our most successful year so far. We’d like to send huge congratulations to Boots colleagues and customers, thanks to them we will be able to continue to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in communities across the UK. The amazing 2016 total is testament to their commitment and generosity.”

Here's what we got up to on the Appeal Day for BBC Children in Need:

1 http://www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/child_obesity

2 http://www.noo.org.uk/securefiles/161007_1434//ChildSocioeconomic_Aug2014_v2.pdf