Local non-profit delighted with competition prize of £5,000 bespoke website

By Jessica Durston - 21 January 2022

  • (L-R standing) Rod Hebden, Rob Angus, Angela Atkinson, Shirley Ludford, Justin Tomlinson. (Seated, Emma King and Graeme Leighfield)

    (L-R standing) Rod Hebden, Rob Angus, Angela Atkinson, Shirley Ludford, Justin Tomlinson. (Seated, Emma King and Graeme Leighfield)

Award-winning creative agency, GEL Studios announce that they will be donating a bespoke website worth over £5,000 to non-profit organisation Swindon Sisters Alliance.

GEL Studios launched a competition to win a bespoke website launched back in October. 

The competition was open to any charity, non-governmental organisation, not-for-profit organisation or B-CORP that help residents in any SN postcode. Applications closed in December, and since then, a group of local community champions and business owners have selected non-profit organisation, Swindon Sisters Alliance as the overall winners.

Swindon Sisters Alliance is a Community Interest Company based in Swindon Town Centre. They help families recover from domestic abuse, homicide or suicide traumas. and rebuild their lives through holiday experiences and days out.

Founder of Swindon Sisters Alliance, Emma King said: "Swindon Sisters Alliance are extremely grateful to GEL Studios and the panel of judges for selecting us as the overall winners. This is a truly incredible opportunity for us.

"We have two donation shops in Swindon. All of the sales we make through the shops help to keep Julie's Haven, a respite holiday, free to those who need it most. We can now use the funds that we would have invested into a website, into continuing to help more families who have experienced domestic abuse, homicide or suicide"

Selecting the winning organisation was Managing Director of GEL Studios, Greame Leighfield, North Swindon MP, Justin Tomlinson and CEO of Swindon Town Football Club, Rob Angus. Also on the judging panel were Born Again Swindonian writer, Angela Atkinson, Swindon 105.5 Station Manager, Shirley Ludford and New Elements' Managing Director, Rod Hebden.

Currently on a journey to become B-CORP certified in 2022, GEL Studios donates a bespoke website to a Wiltshire-based good cause each year. To date, it has worked with Swindon Food Collective, a local food bank which saw a dramatic spike in the number of people who needed help during the pandemic, Threshold, who help to change perceptions and create long-term awareness of homelessness, and RunVember, a good cause that inspires the local community to fundraise for local charities throughout November

Managing Director of GEL Studios, Graeme Leighfield said: "Over the years we've helped lots of local good causes. Making a difference has always been at the forefront of everything that we do at GEL Studios.

"Swindon Sisters Alliance really stood out to me and the other judges. Reading Emma's story of how she's personally overcome adversities to help others rebuild their lives was truly inspiring. We can't wait to begin working on their new website so that Swindon Sisters Alliance can continue the vital work they do for our community".

When asked about what this donation of a bespoke website would mean for her non-profit, Emma added: "Where we are a very new organisation (started in July 2020), we found it hard to start from scratch initially to get up and running. We just didn't have the funds to finance and maintain the cost a website brings.

"All the money that comes to us through our shop, goes straight into funding our projects. A website was something we would have looked at doing later on down the line when we had enough put aside to cover it, so to be able to be gifted this service, is just amazing. 

"Our service users will actually be able to click through somewhere online and find information about our service, and who we are and what we do. We currently just have a Facebook page, as building a bigger online presence requires time and funding, so to have a proper website set up will mean we can concentrate on funding our projects.

"This will help us to focus on funding our holiday experiences and days out, and funding transport for those who cannot afford it or do not have any other way of getting themselves to our respite destination."

Emma's long term plans are to grow SSA and eventually become a registered charity. She said she was proud to call this organisation a Swindon project and that she is looking forward to paying back the generosity of GEL Studios by helping out those in need of SSA's services within the community.  

Swindon Sisters Alliance's Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/SwindonSistersAlliance 

The Swindon Sisters Alliance shop can be found in the Town Centre at 21 The Parade. Its opening hours are Mon - Fri, 9 - 5 and Sunday 10 - 4. 

More information about GEL Studios can be found at https://www.gelstudios.co.uk/

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