What started as a local fundraising initiative by a group of hospice volunteers and knitters has blossomed into one of the biggest income generating appeals for Manchester based Francis House Children’s Hospice.
The Francis House Easter Knitted Chick Appeal began more than 20 years ago. The appeal now results in tens of thousands of hand knitted chicks – and bunnies – arriving at the hospice in Didsbury by the sack load. Unpacked, sorted, repaired and filled with thousands of creme eggs the chicks are sold for £1 in schools, stores and businesses to raise funds for Francis House.
More than 30,000 chicks have been sold in the run up to Easter and the appeal is expected to raise in excess of £40,000.
Chicks have even arrived from such far-flung places as France, Spain, Uganda and Canada.Francis House supports more than 550 families from across Greater Manchester. The hospice offers care for children and young adults who have a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and provides essential support for their families. Services include respite care, homecare, day care, sibling support, parental support, end of life care, emotional and bereavement support.
Francis House Fundraising officer Rachel Nasiri co-ordinates creme egg collectors, delivery drivers, school sellers and volunteers known as ‘stuffers’ to help fill every single chick.
Rachel said: “From its beginnings as a chick knit by our hospice volunteers, and through the hard work of our supporters and the wider knitting community, the Francis House Easter Chick Knit has become a much-loved annual appeal with a fantastic feel-good factor. Every single chick knitted, and every egg donated, really makes a big difference to us.”
Staff from Trafford Park based CHEP UKI spent a day stuffing crate loads of chicks as part of the firm’s paid for volunteering hours.
Janet Hart, European Fleet Controller and UKI CSR Champion said: “We have known Francis House for years and sold chicks in our offices before COVID. Everyone at CHEP loves food, and we couldn’t wait to help out in such a fun way. We loved doing it and because of hybrid working it has been an opportunity to meet with colleagues we’ve not seen in years.”
To find out more about Francis House and the Chick Appeal visit www.francishouse.org.uk