Xmas Party Heroes
1552. Mark Hawthorn
Mark Hawthorn, from Bolton, is a businessman who created ‘Xmas Party Heroes’ - a digital platform which encourages companies to donate funds from cancelled Christmas parties to charity, raising over £1.5 million to date.
Mark, who is the CEO of investment company Landmark Group, was inspired to set up the campaign to help charities and good causes that have seen a significant drop in funding due to COVID-19, particularly with major fundraising events cancelled. With traditional workplace Christmas parties unable to take place this year due to coronavirus restrictions and social distancing, Mark launched ‘Xmas Party Heroes’ to provide businesses with a simple way of pledging Christmas party funds to charities. The campaign hit £500,000 in donations within days, and over 300 charities are now on board. ‘Xmas Party Heroes’ has also spawned a sister movement in Canada, where ‘CanadaHelps’, the largest platform in Canada for donating and fundraising online, is helping to funnel donations direct to one of Canada’s 86,000 registered charities.
Mark was presented with his award by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on a visit to Bolton (pictured below – credit Pippa Fowles, No10).
In a personal letter to Mark, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Congratulations on the enormous success of ‘Xmas Party Heroes’.
“You have harnessed the power of technology and the generosity of the British people to raise a staggering £1.5 million for charities across the UK.
“The Christmas season is fleeting, but as we take down the tree and pack away the decorations, the millions of pounds that you have raised for over 300 charities will touch people’s lives for the better for years to come.”
“A few short weeks ago I realised that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our usual staff Xmas Party or any other entertaining. This left a generous budget surplus, and an obvious option to simply donate it to charities, who are in need now more than ever. This immediately led to the realisation that a great number of other businesses would be in a similar position who could – and where possible should – do the same.
“We launched the ‘Xmas Party Heroes’ concept to our network of close contacts and suppliers, where it quickly gained traction, before taking over our lives in the nicest possible way.
“We set out to create a campaign movement that charities could use with no strings attached to quickly increase their fundraising this winter. We now have well over 300 charities onboard and expect to surpass £1,500,000 in donations. This has all been achieved in less than 50 days, and we have enjoyed every minute.
“This recognition from the Prime Minister should really help to drive more awareness and further benefits to the charities as we continue our push towards Xmas.”