Readers’ Lives: Emma Harewood

She has dressed up as Batman and as a cowboy for charity, but Emma Harewood’s latest challenge takes her fundraising efforts to a new level.

Following The Midcounties Co-operative’s decision to focus on regional fundraising for local causes, Emma came up with the idea for a three-mile sponsored walk in Walsall Arboretum in aid of St Giles Hospice in the town.

But this isn’t any old sponsored walk. With up to 500 people expected, the ‘Remembered Forever’ event will boast live bands, a hog roast, barbecue and stalls on June 21, Father’s Day. The registration fee is £5.

It will be the biggest event Emma, who is in charge of fundraising for her region, has ever organised.

“I’ve never done an event of this size before, I’m scared!” she says. “I’ve had to do event and risk assessment forms and arrange liability insurance.”

Fortunately for Emma, she has the support of Midcounties Co-operative colleagues to help with marketing and running the event, which is likely to have around 20 marshalls and a childcare area. She will invite all staff in the nearby area as well as all the Co-operative’s local customers to the event. “We’re like one big family,” she adds.

Emma is taking it all in her stride. After all, she has a decade of fundraising under her belt, which began when she started at the former West Midlands Co-operative Society travel agency in Bloxwich in 2004.

As well as dressing up, she has been involved in all manner of fundraising events, from a silent auction, which raised £300 for Abta LifeLine, to a ‘Cycle around Europe’ on an exercise bike in the shop window.

She has also supported efforts to reduce shoplifting by taking part in a ‘Cuppa for a Copper’ campaign. This promoted her agency as a shop that would offer a policeman a cup of tea as a deterrent to potential thieves.

Emma’s enthusiasm for the fundraising work, on top of her day-to-day work in the shop, clearly keeps her going.

She’s already planning her next event, the company’s involvement in a ‘flash mob’ dance in aid of the hospice.

“It makes you feel good to be giving something back to the community,” she says.

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