Earlier this year, the staff at Lancashire FA set up a Social Committee, with the aim of making the workplace even more enjoyable and to come up with different initiatives which we could all get involved in.
The Committee, made up of six people working at the Association, have planned social events, organised birthday cards for all staff signed by all colleagues, and introduced a monthly 'random act of kindness.'
One of the Committee's most successful ideas was to hold a Charity Friday every month or so, where groups of colleagues took it in turns to come up with a way to raise money for a nominated charity.
Our initial fundraising event of 2017 took place in April, when several members of staff donned their teams' colours on Football Shirt Friday to raise £32 for the Booby Moore Foundation.
In May, our first official Charity Friday took place, and the first group involved made breakfast of toast, crumpets, muffins and hot drinks for their colleagues, raising £50.13. This was donated to Cystic Fibrosis Trust in memory of local football coach Kieran Miller, who had sadly passed away in April after battling with the disease.
In June, the next nominated group decided to raise money for North West Blood Bikes by hosting a bake sale at the County Ground. Loads of cakes and biscuits were sold, and we were also lucky enough to be visited by a volunteer with a bike who told us all about the brilliant work they do. A fantastic total of £151.86 was raised.
Our next group chose the British Heart Foundation for their Charity Friday in July and held a 'Fruity Friday,' which involved treating their colleagues with a selection of fresh fruit dishes for breakfast and sharing leaflets from the Foundation to raise £50.40.
And, following the sad passing of young football fan Bradley Lowery, staff joined in the #CancerHasNoColours outpouring of support by donating to the Bradley Lowery Foundation in return for wearing football shirts or casual dress, raising £50 in total.
We then held our first Charity Friday event to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy in August. This is a charity close to our hearts at Lancashire FA through our colleague Dan and his mum Lindsay, two much-loved members of staff here at the Association. This month's group held a darts competition outside by the Corner Flag Refreshment Hut and encouraged colleagues to wear orange in support of the charity. Donations were given in return for each attempt - and it's safe to say there were a few colleagues who could have done with a bit more practice! There were prizes up for grabs for the three highest scores, and Dan took part via a darts app on the computer to top the table and scoop first prize. Not even a torrential downpour put us off and we managed to raise a brilliant total of £138.68.
The following month, staff wore jeans and denim to fundraise £85 on Jeans for Genes Day, before hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning 'Chocolate Fest' which raised £79.05.
Finally, in October, the Social Committee organised a fantastic Race Night at the County Ground. This was our largest fundraising event of the year and we decided to continue our support of Muscular Dystrophy. The night was extremely well-attended and enjoyed by our staff, their family and friends and local supporters. Races were sponsored by staff and local partners while all colleagues named a participating horse. There was also a raffle with some great prizes generously donated to the cause. Overall, the Committee raised an incredible £600 for Muscular Dystrophy.
Our Social Committee Chair, Tim Tack, said: "We have helped a number of charities this year to raise money for each of their very noble causes.
"Each department has done the Association proud and we would like to thank everyone for their efforts across the year.
"The Race Night idea came from Committee member John Treacy, who has organised and supported similar events in the past.
"We saw this as an excellent opportunity to raise a significant sum of money for Muscular Dystrophy UK.
"The event took just over two months to plan and was carried out by the Committee, with assistance from other members of the Association - special mention to Jim Parker for the catering.
"Our Race Night was considered a massive success and is something that we hope to do next year, bigger if we can.
"We hope to be as successful with our fundraising in 2018, with our charities already selected and ideas already being discussed."
We've thoroughly enjoyed our fundraising efforts this year and the Social Committee has really helped bring our staff together. We're looking forward to continuing our support of various charities in 2018!