The Great BT Charity Shops Challenge… the results are in

~ BT Teams raise over €100,000 for the Irish Cancer Society and Marie Curie Care ~ 

(Thursday 24th October) BT volunteers from across the Island of Ireland joined representatives from the Irish Cancer Society and Marie Curie Care at Bewleys hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin, to announce the results of the Great BT Charity Shops Challenge.

The Challenge, which took place on the 3rd October, saw 170 BT employees step out of their day jobs to volunteer in the first ever all-island ‘Great BT Charity Shops Challenge’. On the day, each BT team took over one of 17 charity shops (10 Irish Cancer Society shops in the Republic of Ireland and seven Marie Curie shops in Northern Ireland) to help raise much-needed funds for both charities.

The BT teams competed fiercely against each other, using all of their planning, marketing and selling skills to generate extra stock, raise the profile of the shops locally, attract more volunteers and customers and, ultimately, generate the biggest increase in shop takings on the day.

There was a retro chic theme in the Rathmines store, with well-known stylists Marietta Doran and Tanya Grimson on hand to help shoppers find a great new look and Fair City star Geoff Minogue did a signing in the Camden store. Amazing unique items were sourced and sold – like a dress donated by MTV’s Laura Whitmore, a signed, framed Dublin GAA jersey, and a print from street artist JMK. There were also lots of high-end designer items sold – like a Chloé dress, new, tagged clothes from Fashion City (including Ted Baker and Fran & Jane), Rachel Gilbert dresses as well as electronics, including iPod and iPad accessories.

And the results are in…

The overall winners reporting a 1,357 per cent increase in sales on the day are the team from the Marie Curie Shop on the Lisburn Road in Belfast.

Two additional judges’ choice special awards were also presented to the teams from the Marie Curie Shop in Newry and the Irish Cancer Society Shop in Camden Street, Dublin.

Paul Hughes, Irish Cancer Society Shops Manager said: “We were delighted not only by the amazing amount of money raised by BT staff during the Great BT Shops Challenge, but by the attention it has provided our shops - more people know about our shops and the great bargains we have in-store, in addition they got great quality donations.

A total of 1,520 bags were generated for the Challenge. In the 10 participating Irish Cancer Society shops over €50,000 has been raised, between sales on the day and stock donated for our shops. These amazing results will be channelled into our information, care and support services for those affected by cancer in Ireland. In total this means that the Great BT Charity Shops Challenge could fund the total cost of almost 150 nights of care for those in their final days, staying at home being cared for by an Irish Cancer Society night nurse.”

Peter Morris, Corporate Services Director, BT said: “ BT has always worked hard to improve the lives of the communities in which we operate and, as part of our ‘Better Future’ corporate responsibility programme, our volunteers have been involved with some brilliant community initiatives. We were particularly excited to get involved with the Irish Cancer Society and Marie Curie Cancer Care to offer our support for the first ever all-island Charity Shops Challenge, and our teams have done us proud.

The energy, enthusiasm and creativity displayed by all the teams to raise significant funds for two very important charities has been amazing. We all have a role to play in making sure that great causes continue to benefit from our support, particularly in the current economic climate, and many congratulations and thanks go to all involved.”


The Irish Cancer Society - Charity shops

The Irish Cancer Society has 20 charity shops across the country and all proceeds generated go to help fight cancer in Ireland, supporting the work of the Society.

Over 1million items are sold every year in the charity shops, many of which include designer items and other items of high value. Every day more than 400 new items are put out for sale. The shops welcome donations of clothes, shoes, books, bric-a-brac, giftware, collectables and household items as well as furniture in our some of the larger shores.

In the past three years the shops have sold Armani suits, Gucci jewellery, Prada handbags, Jimmy Choos, and designer labels from Max Mara, Whistles, Karen Millen and Coast. In 2011, during one week in the Camden Street shop we sold brand new handbags, one from Alexander McQueen for €1200 and a Louis Vuitton for €600.

Shops are largely staffed by approximately 30 volunteers and supported by a number of full time employees.

BT’s support of the ‘Great Charity Shops Challenge’ shops will increase customer awareness, increase donations, on street promotion and most of all will help our shops establish new relationships with local businesses