Since the launch of the Foundation in 2012, Debenhams has raised over £5 million, which has been donated to support a number of charities.
The following illustrates how the Debenhams Foundation has made a difference to the key charities it supports.
Breast Cancer Now
Breast Cancer Now, created by the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Cancer, is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity dedicated to funding research into the disease. Every year around 50,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. 11,500 women and 80 men will lose their battle against the disease. In 2015 Debenhams raised over £450,000 for Breast Cancer Now, with funds raised going to support research focused on preventing the disease, detecting it earlier and treating it effectively at every stage.
Breast Cancer Now’s aim is that, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. Funding from the Foundation has enabled vital steps to be taken towards that aim. Below are some examples of the key breakthroughs achieved by Breast Cancer Now:
- £1 million of research was invested to find who would benefit most from drugs which could hugely reduce the chances of women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, as well as testing a new drug for this purpose.
- A team of Breast Cancer Now researchers identified a genetic switch that makes breast cancer cells “sticky”, which helps them move from the breast and start growing in different parts of the body. This stage of the disease kills 1,000 women every month in the UK. The team were also able to show that existing drugs can reverse this “stickiness” so breast cancer is less likely to spread, which could potentially save thousands of lives.
- Campaigns were launched to tackle the issue of access to effective, and in some cases life-saving, breast cancer drugs in the UK – ensuring that flaws in the drug pricing and approvals systems were exposed and that these problems remain high on the political agenda.
BBC Children In Need
BBC Children In Need exists to change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. The children and young people BBC Children In Need helps face a range of disadvantages, challenges and vulnerabilities in their lives that can be barriers to them being safe, happy and secure or able to reach their potential. To tackle the effects of disadvantages such as abuse, behavioural difficulties, disability, poverty and distress, the charity funds projects that support children and young people by making differences in their immediate lives or physical and social environments. The £477,808 raised by Debenhams Foundation has been used to fund projects, helping people such as:
Eddison at XP Owl Camp – Eddison has a very rare skin condition called Xeroderman Pigmentosu which makes his skin extremely sensitive to sunlight. Exposure to the smallest amount of sunshine can leave him with painful sunburn and makes him a thousand times more likely to get skin cancer. By funding the XP Owl Camp, Eddison and children like him can spend time playing and swimming in an environment that’s safe from UV radiation from the sun. Funds have also enabled families to get advice from specialists and doctors and each other.
Aaron at Stirling Young Carers – Aaron’s two brothers both have Down’s Syndrome so he spends a lot of his time looking after them. He doesn’t mind helping out at home, but sometimes he can’t find time to do his homework or go out with his friends and have fun. By supporting The Stirling Young Carers group Aaron is provided with a place where he can go where everyone is in a similar situation and understands what it’s like to be a young carer.
Help for Heroes
Help for Heroes believes that anyone who sustains a life-changing illness or injury in the line of duty deserves the very best support, for life. Their holistic approach to recovering is underpinned by three core objectives, to improve:
Physical wellbeing – when a previously active and physically fit person is faced with a life-changing injury or illness, it can seem as if sporting doors have closed. Help for Heroes’ world-leading Sports Recovery Programme enables individuals to lead a more active, healthy and independent life.
Psychological wellbeing – thousands of those who served are suffering from ‘hidden wounds’ – low level mental health problems such as depression, anger management and stress. By developing their new psychological wellbeing service, support can be provided to Veterans and families of the Armed Forces community living with the everyday challenges of anxiety, depression and stress.
Social wellbeing – becoming wounded, injured or sick, whether physically or mentally, impacts on every aspect of life. The Help for Heroes Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters Fellowships have helped to support both the individuals and their family through the transition back into civilian life, and to forge a happy and purposeful future.
In 2015, Debenhams raised over £380,000 in support of Help for Heroes. In addition a team of Debenhams staff took part in the Big Battlefield Bike Ride 2015. Cycling 350 miles from Paris to Windsor, they rode alongside true heroes from the Band of Brothers, raising over £100,000 for the charity. The 2016 team rode another 350 miles again this March, across the Western Front from Ypres to Verdun, raising over £120,000. Debenhams stores and head office teams also run dedicated fundraising for the charity, raising around £150,000 a year for this very deserving cause.
The Debenhams Foundation also supported the Disasters Emergency Committee in its work to provide emergency shelter, food, clean water, blankets and support to rebuild lives to the survivors of the June 2015 Earthquake in Nepal. Over £14,000 was raised through customer donations collected at Debenhams stores.