BT contact centre in Dundee is set to Stand Up To Cancer
Dozens of BT workers in Dundee will answer the call to support Cancer Research UK and Channel 4’s telethon Stand Up To Cancer this Friday (October 17).
Telephone House in Ward Road is one of four BT sites around the UK – and the only one in Scotland – which will handle thousands of incoming calls from people making donations during the epic live TV event hosted by Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Dr Christian Jessen.
The trio will front a star studded night of television, supported by stars from film, TV, music and fashion including Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Gillian Anderson, Idris Elba, Anna Friel and Sharon Osbourne.
An army of more than 100 BT volunteers in the city will man the pledge lines from 7:05pm, with lines staying open until the television show ends at 12.30am.
They’ll be joined by well-known locals including the Lord Provost, Councillor Bob Duncan, who will launch the night of fundraising at 5:30pm; and Dundee United Football Club players Joe McGovern, John Souttar and melanoma skin cancer survivor Jordan Moore. The Beano’s Dennis the Menace will also attend.
Media and photographers are welcome to attend for the 5.30pm launch and can ask for Barbara Davies at Bell Street reception.
Jordan Moore said: “The Stand Up To Cancer telethon is so important. The money raised ensures ground breaking research which in turn means that cancer patients receive better treatment faster.
“As a cancer survivor myself I am only too aware of the need for quick excellent treatment. The time between diagnosis and treatment is harrowing and it is vital that the finance is available to continue to progress treatment.
"I stood up to cancer and I pledge my support to the telethon. Let’s all stand united against cancer."
BT team manager Barbara Davies, a veteran of other BT-supported telethons, including Children in Need, took on the huge logistical challenge of co-ordinating the effort after a life-changing visit to India to see the impact of funds raised by Comic Relief.
She said: “Going to India was a harrowing experience. Until you have seen it with your own eyes it is hard to comprehend the harsh realities people face and what a huge difference funds raised here can make to people’s lives. I came back a different person.
“That motivated me to get involved with Stand Up To Cancer, which is also all about helping people. Cancer affects us all – everyone has been touched by it at some point. I’m touched and amazed that so many colleagues and people in our local community have volunteered to help out on a Friday night during the school holidays. It really shows the spirit of people here in Dundee.”
She added: “This is the first time BT’s been involved with Stand Up To Cancer. We’re really excited and can’t wait for it to be a success!”
While the volunteers get down to the serious business of answering as many calls and taking as many donations as possible, they have also organised a host of fun activities to raise funds during the night.
There will be a carnival atmosphere with volunteers bringing in their children and making it a family event. Activities include funfair games, face painting, caricatures by artists Hannah Williamson and Andrea Murray from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and a disco, while the Dundee Boys Brigade Pipe Band will also be on site to pipe in the Lord Provost and provide entertainment.
Dundee United FC has offered significant support, donating a team photo for auction and a signed shirt and a day at the stadium for four, including meet the manager and a stadium tour, as prizes in addition to the players’ visible support for Stand Up To Cancer. Events management students from Dundee & Angus College will also be on hand to help on the night.
Around 400 BT volunteers are taking part in the telethon from the participating contact centres in Enniskillen, Dundee and Canterbury and BT Tower in London.
While volunteers complete some straightforward training, many of the Dundee advisers have had plenty of practice ahead of the big night. Staffing BT’s biggest contact centre operations in Scotland, they handle millions of calls a year across their functions, which include consumer and business orders, directory and phone book enquiries and helping people who are moving house.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “Our advisers in Dundee have a long history of supporting telethons by using their call handling skills. We’re proud that our Dundee teams will once again be playing a central role in a major televised fundraiser and that so many of our staff are prepared to give up their time for such a valuable cause. We hope everyone in Dundee will help to keep them busy on the night by calling in and making a donation.”
Stand Up To Cancer was co-founded in the USA by film and media leaders and the Entertainment Industry Foundation in 2008 with an aim to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.
Since then three biennial television fundraisers have aired across major US broadcast and cable networks, generating more than $260 million in pledges to support teams of cancer researchers collaborating to bring more effective treatments to the bedside faster.
Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK joined forces to bring Stand Up To Cancer to the UK in 2012 and raised more than £8 million for ground-breaking research. The joint national fundraising campaign aims to raise money to get new and better treatments to cancer patients faster. It unites scientists, celebrities and communities across the country to generate funds, raise awareness and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We’d like to thank all the dedicated BT workers and to thank the people of Dundee for their support and their determination to Stand Up To Cancer.
“One in three people in Scotland will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Thanks to the incredible progress that’s been made in the last 40 years, more people are surviving than ever before.
“But we can’t afford to stand still. We have the technology and the knowledge to conquer cancer; we just need the funds to turn it into real-life treatments. Stand Up To Cancer raises money for translational research – which is often described as ‘bench to bedside’ because it takes treatments from the lab bench and develops them to help patients being treated in hospital.”
About Stand Up To Cancer (UK)
• Stand Up To Cancer is a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4. It unites scientists, celebrities and communities to generate funds, raise awareness and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
• Stand Up To Cancer raises money for translational research, which takes developments in the lab and transforms them into new tests and treatments for cancer patients.
• It took place for the first time in the UK in 2012 and raised over £8 million.
• In 2012, the live fundraising event was hosted by Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Dr Christian Jessen and featured celebrity interviews and moving real life stories
• For those who missed out - 2012’s show featured appearances from celebrities including Samuel L Jackson, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Piven, Leona Lewis, Cheryl Cole and Heidi Klum.
• Stand Up To Cancer will return to UK TV screens on 17 October 2014 on Channel 4
• For more information visit standuptocancer.org.uk
About Cancer Research UK • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
• Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
• Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
• Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
• Today, 2 in 4 people survive cancer. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that 3 in 4 people will survive cancer within the next 20 years.
• Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
• Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.