STAR AID: Cash For Kids millions helps 150,000 children

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Forty year old Hallam FM is celebrating it’s ruby anniversary - but the emerald in its crown is its 35-year-old children’s charity, Cash For Kids.

For many years it was known as Help A Hallam Child and it has raised millions of pounds for local causes, reports Louise Davies, Cash for Kids Charity Manager, for Hallam FM and Magic AM.

Michael Buble with Hallam FM's James Lett, Big John and Becky Dixon, Cash For Kids Charity Manager in 2013.

Michael Buble with Hallam FM's James Lett, Big John and Becky Dixon, Cash For Kids Charity Manager in 2013.

Thirty five years ago, Hallam FM launched Hallam Money Mountain Trust - affectionately known as Help a Hallam Child.

The aim of the charity is to support sick, disabled and disadvantaged children living in South Yorkshire. Helping large and small charities, and individual children too, Help a Hallam Child has practically assisted thousands of local children.

The exact number over the years is unknown. A conservative guess would be in the region of 150,000 lives impacted by the generosity of the folk of South Yorkshire.

Last year alone Cash for Kids raised over £930,000 and supported 21,122 children.

Cash For Kids Superhero Day - pictured Sean Clarke (owner of Beer Central), Steve White (Presenter and Cash for Kids Ambassador), Louise Davies (Cash For Kids Charity Manager) and Katie Parsons (Cash For Kids Charity Exec).

Cash For Kids Superhero Day - pictured Sean Clarke (owner of Beer Central), Steve White (Presenter and Cash for Kids Ambassador), Louise Davies (Cash For Kids Charity Manager) and Katie Parsons (Cash For Kids Charity Exec).

It is a grant giving charity and supports individual children, groups and children’s charities where children are sick, deprived and in need of extra support. Every penny raised stays in South Yorkshire.

But it all started with the help of Hallam FM staff and volunteers and it wasn’t until 1999 the charity employed its first employee.

Over the years, Help a Hallam Child hosted fantastic events.

One of the highlights was the on-air auction. Businesses from across South Yorkshire would donate prizes. The auction would literally take over the station for the day with listeners ringing in to place their bids.

Louise Davies, Cash for Kids Charity Manager for Hallam FM and Magic AM.

Louise Davies, Cash for Kids Charity Manager for Hallam FM and Magic AM.

Prizes included Meet and Greets with the likes of Bryan Adams and the Artic Monkeys, conservatories, kitchens, and even a dance session with Strictly Star Darren Bennett.

Lisa Hollely, Sales Support Co-ordinator, reminisces about the auction, “For one day a year the auction took over both our radio stations Hallam FM and Magic. It was brilliant. There was such a buzz in the station. I would look forward to it every year. “Everyone was involved. Each of us would have an allocated job. Both Hallam & Magic presenters would be together in the studio and mention the prizes on offer for that hour. The listener that rang in with the highest bid would win the prize. Celebrities would pop into the station to endorse the auction and encourage our listeners to give more.

“Businesses would donate food and drink to keep the staff going. At the end of the day we would be totally frazzled but then we would all go out to the nightclubs across the region to do a bucket collection.”

Help a Hallam Child’s Black & White Balls at Ponds Forge were an annual highlight too. With knockout live performances from the likes of Edwin Starr, businesses would show their generosity by donating thousands of pounds through the raffles and auctions.

Dave Kilner, the popular, late radio presenter, who was a driving force behind Help A Hallam Child, now known as Cash For Kids.

Dave Kilner, the popular, late radio presenter, who was a driving force behind Help A Hallam Child, now known as Cash For Kids.

In 2005 Help a Hallam Child also launched Read to Succeed, encouraging local children to read. The charity was able to fund, with the donations from local people, extra teaching assistants in some of the most deprived South Yorkshire schools.

In the same year Big John’s Playground Appeal successfully raised a donated a playground.

Dave Kilner, the popular, late radio presenter, was a driving force behind Help A Hallam Child.

Lisa, also remembers The School Disco held at Brannigans, Valley Centertainment, in the late nineties, “It was such a laugh with everyone dressing up as schools pupils. All the ticket money was donated to Help a Hallam Child. That’s what I love about the charity. It’s serious about raising funds for local kids but it is such good fun too.”

Other campaigns include Big John living in the shop window of Debenhams for six days, The Wrong Trousers for Sheffield Children’s Hospital in 2000, the Calypso Ball, The Toy Appeal and The Million Pound Dinner.

The charity has changed considerably over the years. In 2008, Help a Hallam Child changed its name to Cash for Kids. Bauer Media, the owner of the group, decided that all of its children’s charities should join together to become the one charity. This joined up approach has enabled the charity to expand and keep it running costs to a minimum. Important to the heart of the charity all money raised locally stays locally.

Radio presenters Scott Makin, Big John, Producer James and Janine Jones launched The Star backed Cash For Kids Mission Christmas 2013.

Radio presenters Scott Makin, Big John, Producer James and Janine Jones launched The Star backed Cash For Kids Mission Christmas 2013.

And the big names keep on giving. Chart-topping superstar Michael Bublé performed a charity concert at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena last year to help raise thousands of pounds for Cash For Kids and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

One of the charity’s major projects launched in recent years and backed by The Star is Mission Christmas. Thousands of people across the region donate an extra Christmas present at various drop offs across the local area. These presents are collected, sorted and distributed to underprivileged children.

Mission Christmas is the one campaign that we are best known for. It is a crazy six weeks. Last year, we helped 15,257 individual children - they woke with a present on Christmas Day thanks to the generosity of local people.

I am completely blown away with how the whole of South Yorkshire rallies behind the cause. I am looking forward to this year’s campaign. We are expecting to help 18,000 local children.

As well as Mission Christmas, there are lots in store for the charity. In the next year, we will offering an engaged couple in South Yorkshire to win their wedding, we have our Superhero Day in May and our Big Bake Day in September. To make these campaigns successful we rely on individuals, businesses and schools in the local area. Without these fantastic people, Cash for Kids wouldn’t happen.”

By the end of the year, Cash for Kids will have helped 65,000 in this year alone.

This Sunday, Cash for Kids is holding its celebrity football match at Sheffield FC in Dronfield. Starring actors from Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Waterloo Road, the charity is expecting a full capacity crowd. Tickets can be obtained from the website www.hallamfm.co.uk/celebfootball. A suggested donation of £3 will be taken at the turnstiles.

For thirty five years, Hallam FM’s children’s charity, has raised millions of pounds and supported thousands of local children. With 2014 proving to be its most successful year, the charity is going from strength to strength.

* To find out more about the charity and to donate simply visit www.hallamfm.co.uk/charity.

Best Solicitors sponsored The Star backed Hallam FM and Magic AM Mission Christmas Cash For Kids 2013

Best Solicitors sponsored The Star backed Hallam FM and Magic AM Mission Christmas Cash For Kids 2013