Toy shop The Entertainer raises £650,000 for Bristol Children’s Hospital charity The Grand Appeal

The family-owned toy retailer, The Entertainer has raised an impressive £650,000 for the dedicated charity of the Bristol Children’s Hospital, The Grand Appeal, just two weeks after reopening the doors of its high street stores.

The Entertainer has been raising money for the sick children at Bristol Children’s Hospital by simply asking customers to round up their purchases to the nearest pound when shopping in store, by partnering with Pennies, the micro-donation charity.

Despite UK retail sales suffering due to long periods of closure and reduced footfall during the pandemic, the toy chain has raised almost £100,000 for The Grand Appeal in the last year alone, exceeding £650,000 as stores reopened the week before last.

The Entertainer has been raising funds for the charity, after rolling out the Pennies initiative across its stores in the UK in 2011. A total of 17 of the stores across the South West, from Cornwall up to Wiltshire raise funds for The Grand Appeal.

The donations support the charity’s contribution to specialist treatment for sick babies, children and young adults from across the South West and aid the development of facilities that ensure Bristol Children’s Hospital remains at the forefront of children’s healthcare.

Pennies runs the “digital charity box”, the digital upgrade of the traditional charity tin, designed to fit with our increasingly cashless lifestyles.

In 2018, The Entertainer upgraded the technology to enable customers to donate via contactless payments with Pennies, this introduction has seen customer generosity significantly increase with £400,000 being raised in less than three years.

Karen Emery, area manager for The Entertainer in the South West, said: “We are delighted to announce that we have raised over £650,000 for our partners at The Grand Appeal. Despite reduced opening hours over the last year, its simply incredible to witness the continued generosity of our customers, who are willing to go the extra mile to support an amazing cause, even in such uncertain times.

“Many of our customers and staff have personal experience of using the hospital services and have seen first-hand the difference it makes. Thank you to all our customers in the South West for helping us to support The Grand Appeal.”

Alison Hutchinson CBE, Pennies CEO, added: “The fantastic news is The Entertainer has opened its doors to customers again, following the April 12th lockdown easing. We know they’ve been getting back to what they do best – providing a wonderful and welcoming experience to customers – and enabling them to get back to giving right away.

“Congratulations to The Entertainer and The Grand Appeal on this milestone, and a huge thank you to customers in Bristol and across the South West for their generosity.”

Helen Haskell, corporate partnerships manager at The Grand Appeal, said: “Our partners at The Entertainer and their incredibly generous customers have reached an astonishing milestone, which our team are extremely grateful for. Over the last year, fundraising has been especially challenging due to the pandemic and its thanks to supporters, like The Entertainer, that we have been able to continue to provide the vital services for sick children and their families when they need it most. Every penny truly does make a difference.”

As the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity, The Grand Appeal funds ground-breaking medical equipment, three family accommodation houses, 20 specialist support staff and a programme of art, music and play in partnership with the hospital and its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital.