by Alice Urwin, Early Intervention Playworker at The Toby Henderson Trust.
This year due to COVID restrictions we had to make the difficult decision to cancel this year’s annual Christmas fayre at Toby house. HOWEVER….. this year we thought if our families and supporters couldn’t come to us, then we shall come to them!
Fiona, our Early Intervention Playworker, had the brilliant idea to run The Toby Henderson Trust virtual Christmas Fayre on Facebook so we could still bring the magic of Christmas at Toby House and raise funds to sustain our early intervention services at the same time. At The Toby Henderson Trust we’ve had to adapt to a new world this year and even though going ‘virtual’ has been out of our comfort zone… we are so pleased we’ve taken the leap!
We launched our virtual Christmas Fayre on Facebook and couldn’t believe the response from those that joined our group. In total, we accumulated 575 members who all joined to support The Toby Henderson Trust and local businesses. Just like our previous fayre’s at Toby House, we wanted to involve a range of stall holders to provide a platform for them to showcase their unique products and services. This was important to us this year due to the cancellation of all physical local events and the adverse consequences that this has had on small businesses in our region. We were elated to have 26 virtual stall holders join our event and provide them with an opportunity to exhibit their products which created the ultimate Christmas shopping experience.
“This is my first time to be part of The Toby Henderson Trust Christmas Fayre and I have to say it was an amazing and successful event! I had so much fun and really enjoyed it. I will definitely take part next year and hopefully the Christmas Fayre will be held at the Toby House”.Cora Lam, owner of Minimalism
It wouldn’t be a Toby Henderson Trust Christmas Fayre without our legendary raffle! As well as helping to create our virtual shopping experience, our stall holders were also key to the success of our first ever virtual raffle by donating some of their products as prizes. We had over 40 incredible prizes due to the support of so many businesses, organisations and supporters who gave generously to our cause.
Lynda Athey, owner of Lynda Loves
“It was a pleasure to be involved in The Toby Henderson Trust Christmas Fayre this year as a virtual stall holder. It was very well organised by a fantastic team, all set up via their Facebook group with each stall holder given a number so that all their products could be easily accessed and identified. We were given the daily opportunity throughout the month to post our products online to potential customers, which could be done at your leisure and all through Facebook. On the day we could go ‘live’ or post a pre recorded short video to sell our products. This was a great opportunity for small business owners like myself to obtain coverage and promotion in what has been a challenging year. I appreciated all their help and promotion and look forward to being part of it next year. A fantastic charity to be involved with and all for an excellent cause”.
This year we have certainly raised the bar and our raffle has been more successful than ever before. Thank you to everyone who entered and showed their support by buying tickets. We are thrilled to announce that we sold over 300 tickets and raised a massive £2,311.00!!!
On Saturday the 28th November, Lynda and I hosted a live event on Facebook for the first time. We both definitely learnt as we went and appreciated the live interaction with the viewers. Just like QVC, we showcased a variety of different products and prizes and offered a platform for our stall holders to promote their business. Orders came in thick and fast and raffle ticket sales boomed. Just as we were wrapping up our live event, we had an intruder at Toby House. His bright red suit and big white beard gave away his identity! Santa was in the house! He also left a special message for us to send to our families, reassuring them that he would still be visiting each house this Christmas Eve. Our families responded immediately that this has reassured many anxieties:
“My two boys (and us) always look forward to the Toby house Fayre and seeing Santa every year, it is the start of Christmas. We explained this year would be different and that it was going to be a virtual Fayre. They sat down with their hot chocolates and Christmas hats to enjoy the Fayre, they loved seeing Alice and Lynda and they were jumping up and down talking to them both!Parent who accesses services at The Toby Henderson Trust
When my youngest saw the lovely Christmas George toy dog he ran upstairs and got his pocket money. As always the girls brought so much joy and fun, it was lovely how they said Hello to each child/family.
The range of stalls was lovely, lots of things ordered. The very special reassuring message from Father Christmas made their day. Thank you again from us all, you are all super stars”.
It has been wonderful to hear such positive feedback about our virtual Christmas Fayre. Thank you to everyone for supporting local businesses and The Toby Henderson Trust this Christmas, it will help us to continue providing our services to so many families in the North East. Merry Christmas everybody!