From sponsored skydives and 24-hour endurance races to treasure hunts, flash mobs and face painting, there’s no end to the creative ways shoppers are helping to raise money across the UK.
Now in its fourth year, One Great Day is a special family fun day in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and other children’s health charities, which takes place at shopping centres and business parks up and down the country.
The project started off small: Ten centres signed up to the inaugural event in 2014. That figure has now grown this year to 140 venues, with a whopping £250,000 raised so far for 93 different charities.
For founders Michal and Zvi Noé, from Hendon, seeing their idea come to fruition has taken a combination of all-year-round hard work and dedication. But it has “given so much back” to the very hospital that cared for their son.
Now aged nearly five, the youngster was born with a congenital heart defect and was admitted to GOSH. He was in and out of hospital for “the best part of two years” and had to undergo numerous procedures and operations for his condition.
But today, he is “doing really well” and goes to school.
During her time at the hospital, mum-of-four Michal met other parents who had travelled miles across the UK with their child, and came to realise just how much the national hospital cares not only for its patients, but also their families.
Michal, 36, said: “GOSH has great facilities, Scalextric with a parents’ area on every floor, where they can make breakfast and store food,
as well as accommodation next door for parents.
“They are really caring and what we found remarkable is that they are extremely open to anything that would help in the situation.
“Even a piece of equipment or treatment that was really expensive – if there was a remote chance it could help, they would provide it.
“Their priority really was to try and make the children better, and they were very caring and good at communicating with the parents.”
In 2014, the couple worked together to put on their first One Great Day. While Zvi, director of investments at BMO Real Estate Partners, works on signing up shopping centres to the cause, Michal runs the charity day to day.
Each centre decides how and when its One Great Day will take place, during the month of June, and selects a local children’s charity, alongside GOSH, to benefit from the event.
“What we really like about the event is everybody wins,” explains Michal. “The centre gets more people in, the retailers are happy and the chosen local charity gets a higher profile because it is sharing the same platform as GOSH. Plus, the community gets a lovely event to go to, so there’s a real feel-good factor.”
Over the years, the partners have come up with all kinds of unique and innovative ways to raise money.
Michal adds: “I am constantly surprised by the calibre of ideas they come up with.
“One centre has a giant inflatable and they invite the local schoolchildren to do a sponsored bounce. We have lots of sponsored skydives, sponsored walks around the centre, a 24-hour static cycle endurance race, celebrities, face painting, beat the goalies, anything you can
Brent Cross Shopping Centre is gearing up for the event this Sunday, where young and old alike can enjoy giant Scalextrics, cupcake decorating with Lola’s Cupcakes, children’s entertainers, airbrush tattoos by renowned artist Annie Newman and a flash dance mob by Zoonation.
Other activities include jewellery making with The Bead Bar, face painting, glitter tattoos, hair braiding and a photo booth.
Last year’s event raised £70,000 for GOSH, which bought an advanced echo cardiac machine to look at baby’s hearts before they are born.
“The doctor explained to us that the more information they can get, the better chances the baby has,” explains Michal.
“It was something that I had to do for my son, so it was a lovely way to say thank you and buy equipment that I know can help others.”