Here at Swap In The City UK we’re busy with preparations for August 25th including collecting in hand bag donations for the fabulous handbag auction! We welcome donations of any unique or desirable bags from private individuals and celebrities. This is in aid of our charity partner Handbags for Hospices who will be attending SITCUK to raise much needed funds for hospices in London.
After having a wonderful chat with the founder Abigail Bowen we immediately wanted to support them at our next event and are happy to be doing so in a unique and fun way.
We caught up with Abi ‘Handbags for Hospices‘, who shared her story with us on how the idea of the charity came about and their wonderful journey so far……..
“When my Dad sadly passed away in May 2007, like many of us, I spent the next 6 months stuffing tenners into donation buckets and dropped off as many black bags full of clothes and books as I could carry to our local charity shop.
Eventually, I went along to meet the fundraising team of our local hospice and offered my professional services hoping I could give a little bit back. They told me that donations to the hospice were falling and were looking to attract a younger audience, particularly women.
I’d never been involved in events, nor charity fundraising, but spurred on by an eagerness to ‘do something’, I went back a few weeks later with 3 fundraising ideas, one of which was Handbags for Hospices.
Yes, I love a handbag as much as the next girl and have been known to splurge a little on what I believe to be an ‘investment’, but I am just as keen on a bit of high street sparkle or a little vintage number. With this in mind, the initial idea was to get a handful of friends together over a glass of wine to buy each others unwanted handbags, hoping to raise around £200. As I chatted about the idea with friends and family, it seemed that everyone wanted to come along and soon we were up to 20 people. At this stage I started to panic somewhat, but fate then played a part and I was lucky enough to have a chat with the lovely owner of a local café. He offered to provide some wine and cupcakes, which combined with the handbags became an irresistible draw to ladies of Brighton. To cut a long story short – we ended up with 60 women, over 120 bags and raised an amazing £2,000.
It’s now 18months later, and we’ve been on BBC Radio and in local and national press. We’ve had celebrity support from Davina McCall, Zoe Ball, Paloma Faith, Kim Wilde, Elizabeth Hurley and Millie Mackintosh amongst others. As well as countless businesses donating prizes or giving their time to help us out. Not to mention all those women who have bid and dug deep into the back of their wardrobes to give us their handbags of course.
What was going to be one little event has so far raised over £12,000 and we’re getting calls from ladies wanting to get involved every day.
Looking ahead, we want to get the events running worldwide. With my friend Lucy Wilkes on board, plus our wonderful intern Shelley and friend Inger, I’m so excited about where we will be this time next year. On 10th October we are launching our eBay shop to sell our celebrity bags. We’ve come up with the ‘10/10 Challenge’ which is 10 celebrity bags, sold to support 10 UK hospices (on 10.10.13).
I’m incredibly proud about what Lucy and I have achieved so far, both of us have done all this in our spare time around our full time jobs and children. But ultimately, with any charity it comes down to how Handbags for Hospices makes us feel. We’re both having an absolute ball, we get to meet celebrities, play with handbags and support a charity close to our hearts. Seriously, it really doesn’t get much better than that does it?
If you’d like to know more, donate a bag or get involved, please get in touch!
And don’t forget to come and say ‘Hi’ on August 25th.
So if you love a handbag or two, come and join us on 25th August at One Whitehall Place and get bidding you never know what gorgeous bags will be there!