NIA Griffith MP joined Variety ambassador and Strictly Come Dancing winner Joe McFadden and Miles Baron, Chief Executive of The Bingo Association, at an event in Parliament to celebrate the £1.3 million overall donation to Variety from bingo players and clubs nationwide.
The event, hosted by The Bingo Association, was held to celebrate the charitable achievements of the bingo industry, with another successful year spent fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity.
It was attended by MPs and bingo operators, who brought along bingo players and charity champions from up and down the country, including one of Ms Griffith’s constituents Argos Bingo in Llanelli.
Nia Griffith MP said: “It was great to see Nigel Griffiths from Argos Bingo Llanelli at The Bingo Association’s event in Parliament last week. They are doing excellent work in supporting good causes like the children’s charity Variety.
“Thanks to support from bingo players across the country, Variety has been able to supply more wheelchairs and accessibility equipment to disabled children and sponsor day trips for children with special needs. I very much hope this charitable collaboration will continue.”
As Variety enters its 70th year in operation, The Bingo Association has chosen to extend their original four-year partnership for an extra fifth year, having been extremely moved by the charity’s tireless efforts to help less fortunate children live up to their full potential.
Over the past four years, The Bingo Association has donated the funds for Variety to provide schools and other organisations with 23 Sunshine Coaches.
These coaches are specially adapted to be accessible to children with a diverse range of mobility needs, allowing beneficiaries to plan activities without worrying about the cost, timing, and expense of public transport. Several organisations who had received a coach were in attendance, and were excited to get to know the bingo community and find out more about their fundraising activities.
Over the years, The Bingo Association has also supplied Variety with funds for wheelchairs and other accessibility equipment, as well as numerous grants and Variety Great Days Out. Bingo is a community focused form of entertainment, which is why The Bingo Association prides itself in supporting at-risk children in within the local communities that it is a part of.
Joe McFadden said: “I’m delighted to be able to lend my voice to a cause as vital as Variety’s – vulnerable children are one of the most at risk groups in our society, and I’m honoured be able to champion their work.
“The Bingo Association’s generous donation means Variety can continue to help disadvantaged young people from across the UK reach their full potential.”
Joe McFadden has been a familiar friendly face in British soaps for over ten years, having starred in Heartbeat, Casualty, and Holby City, before stepping into his dancing shoes and winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2017. Joe is one of Variety’s greatest ambassadors– regularly attending the charity’s events and helping to raise funds for children across the UK.
In addition to the cheque handover, there were speeches by Anna Turley, the Chair of the APPG on Bingo, Miles Baron, the CEO of The Bingo Association, and Frances Lang, the CEO of Variety. The evening also included a charity bingo game, which saw an additional £250 being donated to Variety, alongside £250 to a charity of the winner’s choice.
Miles Baron, CEO of the Bingo Association, said: “I’m incredibly excited to announce over the past four years, bingo clubs have raised over £1.3 million for Variety, the Children’s Charity, smashing our target of £1 million.
“Variety’s work has a substantial impact on every community it touches, making it the perfect charitable partner for bingo, a social form of gambling rooted in the heart of local communities. It’s a delight to see the money raised by our customers go back into the communities it’s raised in, and I’m delighted to be extending our partnership with Variety by another year until the end of 2019.”
Frances Lang, CEO of Variety said: “We are delighted that the Bingo Association has agreed to work with us for a hugely important extra year, in which Variety will celebrates its 70th anniversary as a charity in the UK.
“The generosity of the Association, and the clubs across the country, has been absolutely outstanding. Their support has directly touched the lives of many disadvantaged and disabled children around the country. We are truly grateful for the Bingo Association’s continued support.”
The Bingo Association and its members have been raising funds for charity partner Variety, the children’s charity since 2015. Bingo clubs across the country have taken part in a wide range of fundraising activities over this time including hosting football tournaments, cake sales, sky dives, runs, and special £1 games and prize draws.
“Over this period the industry has raised more than £1.3 million, which has enabled Variety to purchase 23 Sunshine Coaches for special needs schools and other beneficiaries.