Since it was founded in 1985 by scriptwriter Richard Curtis, Comic Relief has been striving to create a world free from poverty and social injustice. Their main mission is to “drive positive change through the power of entertainment.” But what’re they really about, and what can you do to assist the worthwhile causes they help?
Launch and History
By holding a telethon each March, and launching their annual appeal, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief has already raised approximately £800 million for various causes. Furthermore, the charity has funded 15,786 projects to date, helping people in over 70 other countries, and this range and success truly reflects the power of a brand that has taken off. When it was originally launched, the idea of Comic Relief was to gather some of Britain’s best loved comedians to entertain the public and encourage them to donate. This has resulted in comedy legend Lenny Henry becoming one of the charity’s key figurehead’s. Henry has been involved with the Comic Relief education programme since its inception, and is currently a trustee of the organisation. Further to this celebrity endorsement they have numerous other corporate supporters, with the list including; Sainsbury’s, BT and the BBC.
Red Nose Day and Other Initiatives
Red Nose Day was launched in 1988 and takes place every year, nevertheless the charity are also involved with various initiatives the year round, including Fairtrade and Africa UK. One of the campaigns they are invested in which really stands out is 1GOAL, a project which aims to help the 69 million children the world over who are unable to go to school. The charity unites footballers, fans, charities, corporations and celebrities to achieve their aim of education for everyone. Education is a basic right, and should be something we should all be entitled to, but for so many children, it is simply impossible. Most would agree that every child deserves the right to education; especially as it offers hope for the future for so many youngsters who are living in severe poverty. Education gives children the skills they need for more fulfilling and better paid jobs, the social skills they need for life, and the tools to work their way out of the trap of poverty. In 2000, 1GOAL aimed to send all children the world-over to school by 2015, and since then have achieved just that for about 40 million children. The organisation said:
It doesn’t have to be this way. Since 2000, 40 million more children are in school. Education beats poverty – and gives people the tools to help themselves.
Along with their involvement in other projects, Comic Relief has looked to expand themselves, in 2002, they teamed up with BBC Sport to form a new initiative; combining well-known sports personalities with a night of fundraising on the BBC. The event takes place every two years in a similar style to Comic Relief itself. Alongside the comic endorsement to Comic relief Sport Relief has its own advocates from the industry such as David Beckham, Andy Murray and Gary Lineker. Its events include the Sports Relief mile, The Great Sport Relief Bake Off and singles from the likes of JLS, McFly and Robbie Williams. Last year they raised over £50,000 thanks to its events and various sketch shows, as well as partnerships with Kellogg’s, The FA, Amazon and HSBC.
Why Get Involved?
So what can the likes of you and I do to help Comic Relief keep doing the wonderful work they have been undertaking tirelessly for the past 28 years? Well, there truly is something for everyone, leaving few excuses not to get involved. These range from bake sales, selling some unwanted belongings on eBay, or even throwing a Red Nose Day party and passing round a collection tin. Comic Relief simply encourage the people of the UK to get involved in the battle against the world’s injustices. They use the money raised to research new campaigns, stop these injustices and to educate as many people as possible about the work they do. Curtis’ charity may provide an evening of entertaining television, but whatever you do don’t just be a spectator, whether it’s big or small, get involved in one of the hundreds of campaigns and countless ways to raise money.