West Swindon Family Centre’s mascot, Westie, has raised the charity £1,000 on his travels to local businesses; funds that will directly support vulnerable children living in Swindon.
The fundraising initiative called ‘Request Westie’ started in April and involves businesses asking to host the mascot for a week of office-based fun and fundraising.
His first outing was to Recycling Technologies in South Marston Park, where he completed a fire marshall course with Wessex Fire and Rescue and learned to drive a forklift truck.
Since then, on trips to local companies such as Whitmarsh Lockhart, CMS Supatrak and the National Self Build and Renovation Centre, he has been put to work on reception and front of house, given guard dog duties, motivated staff, served customers and drank a lot of coffee.
Claims of him answering the call of nature next to an office pot plant have yet to be fully investigated.
Although he has only visited local firms, his travels haven’t been confined to Swindon. While being hosted by Excalibur Communications, Westie was whisked off for a romantic weekend in Paris as well as a hike in the Welsh countryside and a trip to the Balloon Fiesta in Bristol.
“A special thank you goes out to Excalibur,” said Mike Smith, the family centre’s business development coordinator. “They really embraced the concept and raised significant funds towards our grand total.”
“I would like to say a massive thank you to all the local companies who have hosted Westie and helped towards reaching this amazing milestone. Not only do they all care about supporting their local community, it’s clear to see from the pictures of his adventures that Swindon folk also have a wonderful sense of humour and a great deal of imagination.”
Over the last 20 years West Swindon Family Centre has been dedicated to providing support to disadvantaged young children growing up in emotional and financial poverty. This includes specific services and projects for at risk children, victims of domestic abuse, autistic children and their families as well as young mothers and lone parents.
For many years, the charity has survived primarily on local authority funding to sustain its children’s centre and family centre services. Westie is one of a number of ways the charity is generating income to fill the void that will be left in March 2017 when the local authority’s financial support is cut-off.
In addition to Westie, it is the charity’s new not-for-profit day nursery in Kembrey Park that they hope will generate the majority of funds needed to self-sustain services for vulnerable children. Panda Day Nursery will provide year-round full and part time childcare for 2, 3 and 4 year olds and is taking enquiries now.
“We are very excited about the new nursery,” said Mike. “But we know that this will take a bit of time to get off the ground and start covering its own costs before being able to contribute funds to our work with the most vulnerable. In the meantime, we would love more companies to come forward to host Westie for a week and helping us push the fundraising total even higher.”
Find out how to help by contacting Mike through www.westswindonfamilycentre.com
A full list of contributors can be found there as well as a picture gallery of his adventures to date.
Follow Westie on Twitter @WSFamilyCentre or by searching #RequestWestie.