Who knew the impact of great balls?

2019 BACKUP Gala Ball was held last Saturday at the Holiday Inn in Bolton and it was immense. We raised a fabulous £15,421. Every penny will benefit a young homeless person somewhere in Bolton, not 1p of it will be used for running costs as we have all those covered.

I was the MC for this event and it was great fun. But for those of you involved in planning events you will know these things take careful preparation and we have been working on this since January. When I say we, I mean Sally and Ellie, the BACKUP fundraising fairies. We have had amazing support this year with donations for raffle and auction, ticket sales, help to set up, and much more. Many of those who attended were Guardians or supporters of BACKUP but we also met lots of new friends. The event was sponsored by Bolton at Home and we had help from Bolton Wanderers legends John McGinlay and Tony Kelly on the night who did the auction and a team from Barclays bank attended and managed the raffle and fundraising activities but also supported the event with match funding.

From an organisers perspective we are always looking to learn and improve on each event and there were little things that sent us into a tailspin but it didn’t affect our mojo at all; the night was an enjoyable one with guests on the dance floor until staff insisted the last of us leave, which we did eventually at 3.30am.

The amazing quartet String Infusion went down well especially playing our anthem, Our House. Steve Charles and his band kept us dancing until the early hours. We had a great meal, fantastic company and you can see from the photos it was a happy night.

A highlight from the evening was Coronation Street actress Lisa George who plays Beth sending us a message that she is the first ever and brand new Patron for the BACKUP charity and is going to be involved in future events. We are very excited about this.

A big thank you to everyone who attended and donated the prizes – we really appreciate it.

The money you have helped us to raise is literally saving and changing young lives. Young people have no expectations when they arrive with us, they assume they are coming to a “hostel” and it will be a dump and full of awful people. They find the exact opposite; clean, furnished and nice accommodation; friendly and supportive staff and the extras – which this pays for. A starter pack with food, toiletries and clothing. ID – a new birth certificate for those that don’t have one, shoes for those that are in one pair when they arrive, travel costs for college or work at the start until they are settled, money for electric so they can HEAT and EAT. Access to a trip off site every 6 weeks including picnics, kayaking, cinema or theatre. All these things aren’t anything to do with housing really but they are the best thing about the service offer because they make the young people feel valued, worthy and cared for. In some cases for the first time in years. We like a saying here at BACKUP; “people won’t always remember what you said or did but they will remember how you made them feel.”

We want young people to look back on what we hope is their only experience of being homeless and recall that we made them feel safe and valued.

We want you, our supporters, to feel good about your contribution to the charity and know the impact you are having.

Job done.

Just so you know, we are already planning next year’s event – save the date; 12th September 2020.