Firm Donates Free Food To Local Foodbank

Aberdeen-based marketing and communications consultancy Innes Associates has donated a second batch of free food to local food bank Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), proving that giving to charity does not always need to cost money.

Staff at the firm have been accumulating food and toiletries they have received when purchasing a copy of the Evening Express or Press and Journal from Aberdeen Journal’s roadshow events in Aberdeen’s Trinity Centre. The items were being given away free to readers as part of a promotion run by the papers.

Fiona Rae of CFINE (centre) accepts a donation from Charlie Innes (left) and Ian McLaren of Innes AssociatesThe idea of donating the free items to charity was sown in the minds of the Innes Associates team after being struck by a 12-year-old schoolgirl’s generosity last year. The youngster had saved up toys she had won at Codona’s and donated them to the Cash for Kids Mission Christmas gift appeal.

This latest batch of food and toiletries totalled 56 items, with an estimated retail value of over £60. A further £10 of tinned and dried food was also donated to the charity which was purchased from loose change collected in a tin in the firm’s office.

Boosting supplies – £60 of free food thanks to Aberdeen JournalsEarlier in the year, staff handed in 27 free items with a combined value of £35 to CFINE’s premises on Poynernook Road along with 21kg of additional food purchased by the team. These free items had been collected in the same way.

Along with donating items to the food bank, Innes Associates has also handed out some of the food to homeless people and donated Easter Eggs to local children’s egg appeals.

Free food – first batch of food collected for CFINEFoodbanks across Britain have been experiencing unprecedented demand in recent years. CFINE is the lead partner of the Food Banks Partnership Aberdeen, which comprises 37 partner community and voluntary organisations in the city. The Aberdeen foodbanks put out a call earlier this year which local residents got behind. Donations are constantly required, meaning this latest donation was well received.

In 2014, the partnership distributed over 13,000 emergency food parcels across Aberdeen, with CFINE itself handing out over 3,300 of them. This year, CFINE has dispensed, on average, around 750 emergency food parcels every month and as temperature begins to fall it is once again witnessing an increase in demand. The charity estimates that over the course of the year it will hand out nearly £160,000 worth of food and toiletries.

Ian McLaren, Innes Associates’ PR account manager, said: “We were all struck by the generosity shown last year by a 12-year-old girl who donated gifts she won to the Cash for Kids Mission Christmas appeal. It got us thinking about the things we could do that could have a similar impact and this is the result.

“In its simplest form it was about not being greedy. Instead passing on the goodwill shown to us, to those in need. It shows that donating to charity can at times cost nothing.”

Fiona Rae, deputy chief executive, CFINE, said: “This was a great initiative run by the team at Innes Associates. All of the food and toiletries that have been donated to CFINE are a huge benefit. Regardless of the time of year, we experience strong demand for food parcels. Every donation is greatly appreciated, particularly as we approach a time of year when additional pressures are put on our finances.”


Coinz Meanz Beanz For Charity

A humble tin of baked beans has allowed an Aberdeen charity to coin in over £100 thanks to a local firm.

Bean tin sprouts into charity cash

The store cupboard staple sprouted into £120 for Cash for Kids thanks to Aberdeen-based marketing and communications consultancy Innes Associates. Over the past year, staff at the firm have been putting loose change into an old baked bean tin, collecting a total of £16.15 in coppers and silvers. Staff members then individually matched the amount, with the total then being doubled by the firm.

Cash for Kids is currently running its annual Coats for Kids appeal, which aims to provide warm winter clothing to hundreds of underprivileged north-east children, and will use the donation to help meet an anticipated 600 applications. The charity supports disabled and disadvantaged children and young people under the age of 18 living in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. All of the money donated to the charity is spent in the local area.

Beans and coins

Normally the preserve of the bottom of pockets and purses, coppers and silvers are often an irritation to the public, but the team at Innes Associates grew to love the pesky pennies. In total they collected £1.33 in pennies, £1.32 in 2ps, £2.90 in 5ps, £4.20 in 10ps, £5.40 in 20ps and £1 in 50ps, along with a rouge American cent.

Charlie Innes, managing director of Innes Associates, said: “This was a really simple fundraising idea and it was surprising just how much we raised as a result of some loose change. We all often curse the coppers and small silvers that rattle around in our pockets or purses, so this put them to great use for a worthwhile local charity.”

Charlie Innes, managing director, Innes Associates

Charlie Innes

Michelle Ferguson, Cash for Kids’ charity manager, said: “This was a fantastic fundraising concept and goes to show that little things can accumulate into substantial amounts. Loose change is a bugbear of many people and this is an initiative many other firms could also adopt.

Cash for Kids logo“All of the money that is raised for Cash for Kids is used to support young people here in the north-east. Instead of being used to support our Coats for Kids appeal, a donation of this value could help a family to purchase clothes, bedding and other essentials for their children, or fund quarter of the purchase cost of a specialist wheelchair for a disabled child.”

Mission Christmas Appeal Takes Off With Bond’s Help

Cash for Kids logoInnes Associates has been supporting Cash for Kids over the past year and yesterday we helped to launch the charity’s annual Christmas present appeal.  Read the full story below or head to or to find out how you can help.

Mission Christmas Appeal Takes Off With Bond’s Help

Cash for Kids' Mission ChristmasAn annual festive campaign to ensure that underprivileged children living in north-east Scotland receive a present this Christmas has been officially launched by Aberdeen charity Cash for Kids.

The charity’s Mission Christmas appeal encourages members of the public to purchase an extra toy or gift when they are doing their Christmas shopping and donate it unwrapped to the appeal.  Cash for Kids has set up 20 donation points across the north-east in order to make it as easy as possible for people to donate items.

It is estimated that around 10,000 children in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire live in poverty.  Cash for Kids is one of a number of local charities that run an annual Christmas toy appeal in order to provide these children with at least one toy or gift on Christmas day.

Bond Offshore Helicopters is the main sponsor of the appeal.  One of the firm’s pilots and Cash for Kids’ Courage the Cat were on hand to help Santa Claus load the first batch of presents bound for his workshop at the North Pole into one of Bond’s helicopters.  This year’s appeal was kick-started with a donation of 168 quality toys from Aberdeen’s Disney Store.

Last year’s Mission Christmas appeal saw around £160,000 worth of presents generously donated by individuals and businesses in the north-east.  This helped to ensure that 2,966 underprivileged children in the region were guaranteed a Christmas present.  Cash for Kids expects to fulfil a similar number of applications on behalf of children this year.

Mission Christmas appeal lifts off

Bond staff, Santa and Northsound DJs Greigsy and Aylissa launch the appeal

Michelle Herd, charity manager, said: “Christmas is a magical time of the year, but for thousands of children living in poverty in the north-east often it is not, with many not receiving a present.  Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas appeal aims to ensure that as many children as possible in this situation wake up on Christmas morning to the joy of a new gift.

“Last year we distributed over 10,000 presents to youngsters in the area and we have already received over 1,000 applications on behalf of children.  All gifts and donations are gratefully received, no matter how large or small, and should be unwrapped.

“We are really pleased to have Bond as the main supporter of our appeal this year and their assistance is really appreciated.  The Mission Christmas appeal is a huge logistical task for us and we are indebted to everyone who helps to make it operate successfully.”

North Pole bound

Greigsy, Santa and Aylissa

Luke Farajallah, managing director, Bond Offshore Helicopters, said:  “Cash for Kids is one of the most worthy charities in Aberdeen, and as a locally based business we feel the responsibility to play our part in making Christmas a special time of year for all children.  It is heart-breaking to understand that 10,000 children in the Aberdeenshire area live in poverty, and it is this fact that has inspired us to step up and make a difference.

“We are extremely proud to be the main sponsor of this event, and we would urge local people and businesses to play their part by also making a donation, however small, in the full knowledge that they will be bringing some Christmas magic into the lives of the children who need it most.”

Cash for Kids is Northsound Radio’s listeners’ charity.  It makes grants to individuals, families, children’s groups, organisations and projects throughout the Northsound transmission area.  All money is raised locally and spent locally to benefit local disabled and disadvantaged children and young people under 18.  More information on Cash for Kids can be found at, or telephone 01224 337010.

Can running benefit your business performance?

The name McLaren has long been associated with speed and never more so than in the Innes Associates’ office of late…

Our very own PR account manager Ian McLaren recently completed a hat trick of 10K runs held in the north-east and at each of these events – The Glenlivet 10K, Run Balmoral and the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k – he finished in under 45 minutes. (Well done again!)Ian_McLaren_Race

Like many exercise enthusiasts, Ian enjoys running for a variety of reasons. Along with all the well-documented benefits, there is now a growing belief that working out can help a business’s bottom line as well as the employees’ waistlines!

According to Zest magazine you can increase your mental functions by going running as it boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients, making you more productive at work. This theory is echoed by, which also states that running is positively beneficial to your grey matter. Their website quotes a recent Swedish study, which found a clear link between high levels of aerobic fitness and better results in an IQ test – making running the ideal workout for a brain boost.

Many businesses today also encourage staff to take on physical challenges in order to raise money for worthwhile causes and, indeed, Ian used his trio of races to gather sponsorship for VSA, one of Aberdeen’s major social care charities.

Increased fitness + increased mental agility + increased support for good causes = a very healthy hobby. Time to grab those trainers?

Sending Christmas Cards

100_5817_1The tree may not yet be up, but the next stage of Christmas is well under way here at Innes Associates – the task of sending out Christmas cards.  As writer’s cramp has set in, we thought we’d rest the pen for a moment and give our fingers a workout on the keyboard by investigating the tradition of festive card giving.


The tradition of sending good wishes goes back many centuries.  There is evidence of printed cards being produced in Germany in the 14th century, where images were carved onto wooden blocks that were then covered in ink and used to print on paper.

Sir Henry Cole is credited with devising the concept of sending a greetings card at Christmas.  The first Christmas card was illustrated in May 1843 by John Callcott Horsley.  The picture, a family with a small child drinking wine together, proved controversial.  Two batches of 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each, which in Victorian times wasn’t cheap.

However, the idea caught on and children – including Queen Victoria’s – were encouraged, Blue Peter style, to make their own Christmas cards.  The early Victorian era also saw industrial colour printing technology becoming more advanced, meaning the cost of producing cards dropped significantly.  Together with the introduction of the halfpenny postage rate, the Christmas card industry took off.  By the end of the 1880s sending cards had become very popular, creating an industry that in 1880 produced 11.5million cards.

The advent of postcards spelt the end of elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, the popularity of cards with envelopes was on the rise.  Modern technology has also had a go at killing off the Christmas card.  The internet and e-mail has led to the introduction of e-cards and many companies, and individuals, now plump for this option at Christmas.

E-cards versus real cards

Over the next few weeks your inbox will be pinging to the sound of many e-cards arriving and then entertaining you with static content or an all singing all dancing festive production featuring Santa Claus and Rudolf.  But once you’ve enjoyed it, you’ll probably hit delete and consign the sender’s yuletide wishes to the digital recycling bin.

Instead why not let the festive cheer that you send out remain around the recipient’s office for more than a few minutes?  Over the years at Innes Associates we have posted charity cards and sent e-cards, but this year we’ve gone for the custom-designed card that follows the style of our brochure.  They’ll be hitting the bottom of a post box in the next few days, before starting their journey to the offices of our clients, suppliers and contacts.  Instead of the ping of the incoming e-card, our recipients will enjoy the thud of a real card landing on their doormat or desk that will, hopefully, take pride of place for many weeks.  They might even think about us when they take their cards down in the New Year.

With more e-mails being sent by companies – some legitimate and informative, others just downright annoying – our inboxes are becoming clogged up.  Whereas if something arrives through the post personally addressed to us, we will usually take time to open it and read it – as long as it’s not a bill and doesn’t look like junk mail.

Christmas card recycling

Christmas card recycling

Although some people have concerns that printing, mailing and delivering cards is detrimental to the environment, many cards are now printed on recycled paper and several large retailers have card recycling points in their stores each January.  Another green option is to use your old cards as shopping lists.  We’ve designed our cards to have lots of white space on the back so they can be used for this purpose!

Posting cards also supports the economy and creates thousands of jobs.  Royal Mail recruits 18,000 additional staff at Christmas time to handle more than 130million items of festive mail each day, which is nearly double the amount it usually handles.

The era of the Christmas card is certainly not over, 2011 saw a 3% rise in card sales compared with 2009.  And although the cost of postage has increased, consider sending cards as an investment in maintaining relationships with clients, suppliers and other contacts.

So why not send a card, put a smile on someone’s face and support the Great British economy in the process.  After all, Christmas is about giving.

Some facts about Christmas cards

  • The tradition of sending and displaying cards is stronger in Britain than any other country.  The sending and receiving of cards is an important part of our culture.
  • The world’s most expensive Christmas card cost £22,250.  It wasn’t diamond encrusted, but an original card from 1843 sold at auction in 2001.
  • It is estimated that £50million is raised each year for good causes through the sales of charity Christmas cards.
  • If you were to purchase an 1843 one shilling Christmas card, it would cost around £3.52 in today’s money according to the Measuring Worth website.
  • According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s smallest Christmas card was created in Glasgow in 2010.  You would need a high power microscope to view the card as it measures just 200 x 290 microcentimetres, and 8,276 cards would fit on one postage stamp.
  • In the 12 years that the Woodland Trust has run its Christmas card recycling scheme, more than 600million cards have been recycled.

Innes Associates shows support for Cash for Kids

Innes Associates is pleased to provide north-east charity Cash for Kids with public relations support in connection with the launch of its Mission Christmas Appeal 2012.

Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas Appeal encourages people to donate toys or make cash donations towards gifts for children throughout the north-east who otherwise would not receive any presents on Christmas day.  This year’s campaign has been kick-started with a donation of over 100 soft toys from Aberdeen’s Disney Store.  Cash for Kids distributed 2,444 gifts to youngsters in the area last year and anticipates that demand will be even greater in 2012.

“We have already received over 1,500 applications on behalf of children who are unlikely to be visited by Santa this year,” says Michelle Herd, charity manager, Cash for Kids.  “Most of these applications were received prior to the official launch of our appeal, so we are urging as many people as possible to get behind it.

“All gifts and donations will be gratefully received, no matter how large or small.  We have set up 24 drop-off points for gifts throughout Aberdeen city and shire to help make it easier for people to make a contribution.”

Previously known as the Christmas Toy Appeal, Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas Appeal has been running since the charity’s launch in 1996 and has grown in scale each year.  Further information on the appeal, including details of gift drop-off points, is available at

Charity fundraising: Supporting good causes

Running shoesHere at Innes Associates we are always keen to do our bit to support organisations that help others.  Over the years we’ve walked over hot coals, taken part in walks, got on our bikes and even bounced up and down, all in aid of raising money for charity.

Last month Ian took on the challenge of raising money for Alzheimer Scotland when he took to the streets of Aberdeen for the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k race.  Although not quite keeping up with the blistering pace of the winner who crossed the finishing line in 32mins 23secs – nearly a minute ahead of the second fastest runner – Ian did achieve a personal best on what was a rather calm, sunny and hot Sunday morning.

He finished the 6.2 mile course as the 369th fastest runner in a field of 3,667 competitors in a time of 45mins and 08secs – nearly two minutes faster than on the same route last year.  Well done to Ian and everyone else who ran the race.