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A look at 2023!

Join us as we reflect on the incredible year that 2023 has been for our small but mighty charity!

As we say goodbye to 2023, we give thanks to everyone who has generously supported Little Lifts this year. 

2023 saw our small, but mighty, charity distribute 7241 Boxes to people affected by breast cancer. We cannot thank our Little Lifts Community enough for being with us every step of the way. A lot happened in 2023, but here are some highlights…

January

We kicked off the year with the annual Little Lifts Big Dip Challenge, where our amazing fundraisers took to chilly waters and collectively raised nearly £3000!

Our wonderful Operations and Support Manager Lizzie joined us to cover Kay for her maternity leave.

February

Our incredible Founder Oa received a Points of Light Award, acknowledging her exceptional service supporting people with breast cancer. This led to reports on local and national news about Little Lifts, we couldn’t be prouder of her! In case you missed the news, you can find it here (password: LL).

March

We delivered our 10,000th Little Lifts Box to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where it all started on 23rd November 2017! This time we were delighted to be delivering Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy Boxes.

April

Our first ever Trail Run event took place where we welcomed nearly 300 runners to the beautiful North Norfolk countryside. An incredible £10,000 was raised thanks to everyone who attended and fundraised. Special thank you to our main sponsor Loveday & Partners, Mr and Mrs Caurtauld of Barningham Estate, generous local landowners and the brilliant Georgie from Norfolk Cordial.

Studio Adorn launched a beautiful jewellery collection made from recycled materials, where 100% of the profits from the sales were donated to Little Lifts! Each piece handmade and inspired by our heart monogram.

We also welcomed our volunteers for the first of many appreciation-based days to celebrate them at our Volunteer Easter Egg Hunt!

May

We introduced our 10th hospital partner, Addenbrooke’s, allowing us to work closely with their teams to ensure that everyone receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer will receive a Little Lifts Box. Over the rest of the year, we helped to support nearly 700 people, ensuring that they feel thought about, loved and more prepared.

Our first ever Pottery and Cocktail Night was organised by our fantastic Volunteer Fundraising Committee, The Little Seeds, which raised £942 thanks to the amazing support from Urban Clay, Mindful Mixology and Hodson & Co.

We launched our partnership with Treekly so that our community can help us to plant a Little Lifts Forest with their steps!

June

We held a fresh, fun, and fabulous June Fashion Show with the brilliant team at John Lewis raising over £3,000. It was a lovely celebration of our models, all who had been affected by breast cancer. With over 160 guests there was so much love in the room and each model had gorgeous summer outfits put together by the fantastic style team, making them feel empowered.

Our small but mighty team got a little bigger! We welcomed amazing Hannah, who joined our Ops Team as an Operations and Support Executive. Lizzie also joined us for one day a week through a secondment with John Lewis, helping Shopie with all things events and fundraising until November.  

Our annual Little Lifts Golf Day took place at Bawburgh Golf Club, raising £5,871 thanks to our amazing golfers! Another fabulous year of golf and more people affected by breast cancer. Thanks to our sponsors Richard Tidy Wealth Management and Specsavers, as well as our hole sponsors Riverdale Ecology, MooGoo Skincare and MKM Building Supplies Kings Lynn.

Our Focus Group for primary breast cancer patients was held in Norwich where we welcomed five of our lovely beneficiaries. This is a wonderful way to connect with our beneficiaries as well as to inform change and improvements that we can implement to ensure we are providing the best support we can. Thanks to Harris & James for providing a lovely location along with refreshments and cake.

June also saw us receive a £50,000 donation from the Alborada Trust, specifically supporting our Little Kindness Fund. Grant Harris from the Alborada Trust says:

‘The Alborada Trust is proud to support a small local charity and its passionate team providing Kindness Boxes to give a Little Lift to those affected by breast cancer.’

Thanks to this support we were able to distribute 2,852 Boxes via our Little Kindness Fund.

July

We hosted our Volunteer Picnic, an opportunity to bring our brilliant volunteers together for a short walk near Little Lifts HQ and enjoy some cake, sandwiches and lemonade from Norfolk Cordial.

August

In August, we welcomed Kara and her family to Little Lifts HQ, for a packing party! Throughout the year we held 19 packing parties at HQ, packing 1,600 Boxes! Kara, received a Little Lifts Box in 2021 and said this about receiving her Box:

‘Whilst nervously waiting for my first radiotherapy session I was given the lovely distraction of my Little Lifts Box. I was really moved by such a thoughtful gift. I love supporting Little Lifts as everyone involved is kind, caring and supportive.’

August also saw our Board of Trustees get together for a strategy day, kindly hosted by Paddy and Scott’s in Suffolk. Along with our Founder, Oa, the session focussed on ambition, strategy and plans to increase the number of Boxes we distribute each year.

September

Our Volunteer Appreciation Awards were the first of its kind here at Little Lifts and it was all about celebrating the fantastic support of our amazing volunteers. A night full of love, hugs and laughter. Our volunteers were given special awards certificates, chocolate from Harris and James and refreshments and treats thanks to the kind support from our corporate sponsor Poultec Training.

Our fabulous Quiz and Chips Night was organised by our Little Seeds fundraising committee and thanks to support from The Oaklands Hotel raised over £1,500.

We had the pleasure of welcoming 10 of our wonderful beneficiaries for a Focus Group in Ipswich. It was a lovely opportunity to meet members of our community whilst helping to us to offer the best support we can. Our beneficiaries shared their own experiences of breast cancer, as well as their positive experiences of receiving a Little Lifts Box. We also held a creative session decorating one of our Boxes, this led to conversations where everyone contributed about how their Box made them feel. Thanks to the amazing Paddy & Scotts for providing the space along with a buffet, cake and refreshments.

September also saw our Ambassador, Laura Middleton-Hughes, win Volunteer of the Year Award at the BBC Radio Norfolk Make a Difference Awards.  Despite living with secondary breast cancer, Laura spreads love, light and awareness everyday and she’s been with us from the very beginning!

October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; an important month for raising awareness and celebrating the important work of organisations supporting people with breast cancer. Throughout the month we shared content everyday that was educational, exciting, and empowering!

To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we launched our Surgery Box which is being piloted at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. The incredible teams at the Norfolk and Norwich, along with our beneficiaries, have provided feedback and guidance for the curation of this wonderful new Box. The Box will be available to anyone undergoing lumpectomy or mastectomy surgery following a breast cancer diagnosis at this hospital. The Box is jam packed with items to provide both practical and emotional support in preparation for surgery. The launch of this Box means we are moving closer to our mission to support every person receiving treatment for breast cancer in the UK. Watch this space as we plan to offer this Box to our existing hospital partners as well as The Little Kindness Fund soon. For now, our pilot at the NNUH will ensure it’s the best Box it can be.  Special thanks to the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust for kindly gift £10,000 to support this pilot over the next 12 months.

Our October Ball was a special evening bringing together 322 people from our community and raising funds. The Autumn themed ball, kindly sponsored by Sinclair International Ltd and Rogers & Norton Solicitors, was held at Caistor Hall and raised a phenomenal £40,000. We are overwhelmed by the kindness, love and generosity of spirit shown for our small but mighty charity, especially Laura and Graham who spoke so beautifully about why Little Lifts is important to them.

We had two amazing brands launch partnerships with us in the month of October. Chemo Headwear created an exclusive design called ‘The Hillary Pink Spot’ dedicated to our founder Oa’s wonderful Auntie where £5 from every sale was donated. The Little Greene Paint Company made us one of their chosen charities, donating proceeds from every tin of paint and roll of wallpaper sold. They also sold a limited edition pin where all of the proceeds went to the chosen charities, including us. These two joined our long-standing partnerships with Spacemasks, Boho Betty, Beam and Studio Adorn.

Our Beneficiary Pamper Party was the first event of its kind aimed to be a little treat for anyone who had received a Little Lifts Box. The evening was a wonderful opportunity to unwind with specialist treatments and meet other people in the Little Lifts Community. This lovely complimentary experience was kindly supported by Tropic who ensured everyone felt relaxed, loved and of course pampered.

November

We held our second fashion show of the year with the incredible team at John Lewis. This time it was a festive theme with three looks inspired by Christmas. Our 200 guests cheered and created a room full of love to champion our amazing models, all who had been affected by breast cancer. We also had The Workshop Studios join the runway for a fantastic ballet performance. £3,281 was raised in total though tickets, our raffle, donations and an auction.

Our annual Christmas Market was held at the beautiful Assembly House and support from Musicality Norwich who got us all into the festive spirit, raising over £1,000. We had an array of fantastic local makers along with refreshments and mince pies.

We celebrated our 6th Birthday on the 23rd of November, which marks the day we delivered our first ever Little Lifts Box. How far our small but mighty charity has come, from Oa’s kitchen table to over 15,600 Boxes (at this point in the year)!

Our Corporate Challenge 250 ended and so we welcomed the incredible businesses that took on the fundraising challenge to Little Lifts HQ. We cannot thank Saxon Air, CIM Signs and Sinclair enough for their dedication, determination, and enthusiasm this year, raising a huge total of £12,562 all together!

December

Oa, our founder, was invited to attend a special festive event at 10 Downing Street. Downing street was transformed into a Christmas market with stalls from a wide range of British businesses showcasing their products and guests included people from charities, community groups and the NHS. Oa was also joined by fellow Point of Light awards winners who have been commended for their charitable work.

Our Christmas Party was a lovely opportunity to celebrate the year and festive season with our wonderful community, raising over £1,000 thanks to the kind support of Gonzos Two Room.

A special mention to those we have lost:

In 2023, our Little Lifts Community said goodbye to some incredible women and so we want to take a moment to acknowledge their kind support and love for our community. Toni, Fee, Terri and Nicky offered so much to our Little Lifts Community, and they will be forever in our hearts.

The concept of Little Lifts was born from the kindness, care, and consideration of others at a very challenging time for our Founder, Oa. This kindness continues to run through every vein of our work and into our community as we strive to make a real difference to the lives of those affected by breast cancer.

To those of you who have been here from the beginning, and to those of you who have joined us recently, thank you for your kindness, generosity of spirit and for wholeheartedly supporting our work.

Here’s to each one of you from our community who make Little Lifts possible, we cannot thank you enough! Our final thank you goes to every person who gets in touch to tell us about what their Little Lifts Box means to them – it is our favourite kind of mail and motivates us every day.  Here’s some we wanted to share:

‘My Little Lifts Box arrived this morning oh my goodness how amazing. I was expecting a little box but it’s a big one filled with absolutely everything I could want for my journey with breast cancer, I feel very supported and loved.’ – Rachel Dann, Clatterbridge Hospital via Little Kindness Fund

‘What a lovely gift, and thanks Nick who packed my Box. A genuine little lift, amongst all the serious faces and concerned family.’ – Jane Melling, Addenbrooke’s Hospital

‘I want to thank you all for my lovely, lovely box of luxury treats. All more expensive than I could buy myself regularly and of course completely out of the blue too. I had a challenging patch of life even before having cancer ‘part one’ (in 2020). Now that it is back and is stage 4, your box lifted me more than I can properly express. I still cry when I think of how much you have cheered me up. Bless you all. – Anonymous, via Make 2nds Count

‘It was lovely to have something nice at a scary and overwhelming time. The gifts were all so thoughtful and made me feel cared for, supported and understood. I was fortunate enough to get both the chemotherapy and radiotherapy Boxes at these stages of my treatment and I really appreciated the specific targeted goodies in each Box. I have recommened you to to other people going through breast cancer treatment. Thank you again for such wonderful support and for making me smile.’ – Lucy Yeomans, Royal Cornwall Hospital, via Little Kindness Fund 

We have big ambitions to distribute even more Boxes in 2024 and we cannot wait to start spreading kindness. Thank you for being with us!