Beyond Awarding Grants
In our quest to create a just world free from poverty, we jump on every opportunity available to us to change the world for the better.
So, as well as awarding grants to make an immediate difference on the ground, we use the strength of our brand and work with lots of amazing friends to move us closer to our overall aim.
Here’s where you can discover some of the other things we do.
Creating change through...
We recognise, at Comic Relief, that the strength of our brand gives us a unique opportunity to raise awareness of many social issues that could otherwise remain hidden.
Over the years, and often in conjunction with the BBC, we’ve made many films that highlight the dire situation of millions of people across the UK, Africa and the world’s poorest countries.
From ‘Dad’ – a drama that brought the plight of older people being abused to the fore of the nation’s attention – to ‘Rwanda: Hope in Hell’ which explored the story of the widows of the Rwandan genocide – our films have told many previously untold stories and continue to raise awareness of vital social issues.
As part of our commitment to raising awareness of what we do and why there’s a need for us to do it, we run education programmes in schools.
In fact, working with children in schools has always been at the heart of what we do. We know that by inspiring children and young people to care about the issues we support, they’ll grow up to want to make a difference in the world – they are the future generation of world leaders, policy makers and voters after all.
Typical projects we’ve supported, as well as producing our own education materials for teachers to use each year, are Altogether Better – a resource looking at attitudes to disability – and Send My Friend to School – linking children in the UK with those in the developing world. We also work closely with the Global Campaign for Education which calls for all children across the world to have access to at least a basic education.
We’re continually looking for ways to give children the tools and resources they need to make a difference in the world. In many ways, they’re our most important supporters.
Comic Relief would be nothing without the incredible support of the British public – they have the real power to create change. So we regularly rally the nation and engage them in calling for change – one of the most important things we can do to achieve our vision.
In 2005, we played a central creative role in the biggest anti-poverty movement ever formed – Make Poverty History. More recently, we’ve been working to help the public better understand key areas of need through Red Nose Day and Sport Relief.
We’ve focused on raising awareness of malaria – a deadly disease that kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds, but which is both treatable and preventable. We’ve also shown the importance of giving every child around the world the opportunity to get an education.
In the UK, we’ve focused on raising awareness of mental health and have given our largest ever UK grant to fund ‘Time to Change’ – the most ambitious programme ever devised to tackle the discrimination faced by people living with mental health problems.
Our work in mobilising the public to care about the issues we support is vital if we’re to move closer to creating a just world, free from poverty.
At Comic Relief, we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to work with some truly great corporate partners who support us, raise our profile and make it possible for us to reach different audiences.
We’re also committed to using these positive relationships to bring additional change and support through commercial activities. Take for instance Sainsbury’s – we were delighted when they decided to stock only Fairtrade bananas in its stores.
We also know how influential our friends can be! When nine celebrities – Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole, Ronan Keating, Alesha Dixon, Chris Moyles, Denise Van Outen, Kimberley Walsh, Ben Shephard and Fearne Cotton – scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in 2009 to raise money and awareness to help tackle malaria, the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, soon took notice.
He was so impressed by their dedication, and the fact that they raised a staggering £3.4 million, that he pledged a further £2 million to tackle malaria in Kenya and Tanzania.
Through the amazing support and influence of our friends and partners, we can do so much more than if we go it alone – and we’re extremely grateful to each and every one of them.