Category Archives: Checkatrade foundation

We’re Back and Bigger and Better for 2017!

Jailbreak Logo-01The Checkatrade Foundation and Spirit FM have teamed up again and are promoting their annual charity jailbreak challenge on Sunday, 7 May which is launching today! They are encouraging teams of four to enter and raise money for the Sussex Snowdrop Trust. So why not get some friends, family or colleagues together and have some fun while raising money!

The event starts at Fontwell Racecourse near Chichester whereby teams will be asked to dress to impress and will be handcuffed together before boarding a Richardson’s coach to take them to prison. Last year, we had fairies, jailbird chicks, golfers, safari gear, traffic cones, sailors, neon ravers and more!


Teams will then ‘escape’ and be dropped off at a secret and unknown location. You then have to make your way to the ‘hideout’ back at the studios without spending any money or using their mobile phone. The distance is challenging if walking so teams will need to use their wit and powers of persuasion to blag some free transport. Previously, teams travelled back on buses, trains, a boat, quad bikes, motorbikes, classic cars, police & fire vehicles to name a few. Some walked more than others but they all did so well.

All prisoners will also be given a swag bag to help them on their way which will include hints and tips on how to get to the hideout.

Spirit FM will also be presenting live throughout the day, following teams and finding out about your progress. Listeners will be encouraged to give teams some help and phone in when the spot them too! Teams are also advised to use social media too #jailbreak.

The winners will be the first ones back to the ‘hideout’ and prizes are also on offer; Best Route Back, Best Dressed Team, Fastest Team Back and one for the Last Team Back!

It’s just £20 to register and then you are asked to raise £200 per team with all proceeds going to the Checkatrade Foundation which was founded to help those in need, in particular children whether they are abroad, based nationally or closer to home. The Sussex Snowdrop Trusts is a fantastic cause, based locally that provide care at home for children with life threatening illnesses providing nurses and financial help for their families.

Di Levantine, Co-Founder of Snowdrop said ‘we were so delighted to receive so much last year from Checkatrade and it made a huge difference to local families. We were able to take 57 of the families we support out for a family day out to a theme park, which made some wonderful memories. These days are unforgettable for the children, their parents and siblings who also have to cope with so much. It’s the chance to all be together and have fun, something they all really look forward to doing.’

Please go to to find out more and sign up your team or visit Spirit FM’s website

Chestnut Tree House Cheque Presentation

You might remember that in September, some of our brilliant team from our Head and Nottingham Office set off to climb the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.


We were delighted to welcome Alison from Chestnut Tree House to our Checkatrade Head Office in Selsey this week and thanks to the teams efforts, we were able to hand over a cheque for £1033 which will be used to support the fantastic work the children’s hospice does to help local families.


Well done to all involved!

You’ll also notice our Christmas Tree in the background. We are selling decorations in aid of Chestnut Tree House too so no doubt we’ll be handing over another cheque again soon…

Christmas Appeal



The Checkatrade Foundation have launched their Christmas Appeal at their head office in Selsey and are supporting local cause, Safe in Sussex this year. They provide domestic abuse awareness and also have two refuges in the county providing accommodation for women and children.

Every women and child who arrives  at the refuge receives a welcome pack and we’d love Checkatrade to help make up as many of these as possible! Items needed include:

– Shower gel
– Shampoo and conditioner (for both adults and children)
– Toothbrushes and toothpaste (for both adults and children)
– Liquid soap
– Deodorant
– Children’s Book
– Cuddly Toy (new)


If you would like to get involved and help us too then please drop off your donations at;

5-6 Sherrington Mews
Ellis Square
PO20 0FJ

Or email [email protected]

The last date for donations is Friday 16th December


National Payroll Giving Awards


We were recently nominated for two awards as part of the National Payroll Giving Awards in London. This is all due to our awesome Checkatrade staff who donate to so many worthy causes through their salary.

Two of our Charity Champions, Amber and Becca went along and we won both which is the first time we have done so and we were delighted!


We won Most Innovative and Most Sustained Campaign. A huge thank you to all our fabulous Checkatrade staff! Here at Checkatrade we strive to make a difference and in the past 5 years, due to our generous employees we have donated over £33,000 from payroll giving!

Clipstone Man Swims the Channel to support local children’s sports club!


Neil Hardwick has struggled with diabetes since 2005 which unfortunately in 2010 led to him suffering a life threatening stroke. The stroke left Neil disabled with very little movement in his left side and with severe limitations in his legs which meant even a short walk to the shop was a real challenge.

Five years on and after several major operations including one leg being almost completely reconstructed out of steel Neil was able to start a rehabilitation exercise plan to help aid his recovery. Swimming was one of the recommend activities and although his first trip to the pool only saw him swim six lengths in an hour Neil was delighted to be able to exercise free from any pain.

The Challenge!

To swim the English Channel! From the 16th January to 22nd January 2017 Neil will attempt to swim 21 miles, the same distance point to point from the UK to France.

The challenge will take place in an indoor pool and has to be completed within 7 days with a minimum of 3 miles (192 lengths) per day with only a five-minute break allowed every mile.

When Neil was asked why he had decided to take on the challenge his reply was easy for him to explain, “I’ve for some reason been lucky enough to be given a new lease of life and mixed with me being a little mad, we came up with the plan after one of my recent training sessions”.

Neil is looking to raise £5,000 for Clipstone Welfare Colts FC

A Clipstone man, Neil has a passion for football and supporting his local community. Clipstone Welfare Colts Football Club has been a significant part of his life and following a very tough few years the club continues to play such an important role in offering sporting opportunities to children between the ages of 6 to 14 years old.

Can you help us reach our target ~ 100 businesses donating a minimum of £50.00 would do it!

There are several ways in which you can donate and support Neil’s remarkable challenge and his chosen charity. Neil’s just giving page is:

Donations made by cheque should be made payable to Clipstone Welfare Colts FC and sent to Neil’s Swim the Channel Challenge, Clipstone Welfare, Mansfield Road. Clipstone NG21 9AL.
Cash donations will also be gratefully received.


Checkatrade Foundation & RNLI Cheque Presentation


We held our first Checkatrade Fun Day over the Summer and it was such a brilliant day raising £1000 and all in aid of the project we support in Nepal and the Selsey Lifeboat Station.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help from our Charity Champions, a new initiative here at the company and everyone kindly gave up their time to ensure it was a great success. We were invited this week to see the great work they do and founder and CEO, Kevin Byrne and some of the Champions also handed over a cheque for £500. The crew were so pleased and wanted to say a huge thank you to Checkatrade and said the money will be used towards the building of the new station and Lifeboat.

If you would like to get involved in next year’s event, please email [email protected].

Ben Nevis – The Final Update!

We made it! Phew! It’s been 2 weeks since the Checkatrade team conquered Ben Nevis and what an experience it was! From laughter, blood, sweat, tears, bruises, joy, relief… We had it all! Here’s more about our fantastic weekend and challenge in Fort William, Scotland.

At 5:30am, on Friday 16th September our Head Office started their journey! It’s safe to say that we had our priorities straight on this journey…


The traffic was fairly kind to us, many coffee and loo stops were made but by 7:30pm we had made it to our cabin! With a good weather forecast for Saturday, we had a carb-licious dinner and made our way to bed for a (reasonably) early night.


Fast forward to 6am Saturday 17th and we were all up, packing the remainder of our bags full of energy bars, chocolate muffins, water and Lucozade sport. Unofficial chef Matt, one of Checkatrade’s personal trainers and authentic Scotsman, made us all a huge pot of porridge to share to make sure we were fuelled up for the challenge ahead!


By 8am we’d arrive at the Ben Nevis Visitors Centre ready and raring to go. Spirits and motivation were high as we made final preparations (hoodies on, hats on, hiking boots tightened feeling like professionals). Less than 5 minutes into our hike, just after having defeated a small set of wooden steps, we regretted all our layers and coats, hoodies and hats came off!


After sticking together for about an hour, we broke off into smaller groups, setting paces that ensured we all made it up and down safely. The views along the way were encouragement to keep going. With the calves, quads and glutes well engaged we started to take comfort when fellow hikers told us we were doing well and assured us that we were nearly half way/an hour/half hour from the summit. Although often incorrect with their time estimations, their words of encouragement, your donations and the promise of good views from the top kept us going!

“We’ve made it this far, we can’t stop now!”





5 gruelling hours after setting off, the last group made it to the top! All 1345 metres above sea level!


Due to the chilly weather, groups that had made it up a lot quicker couldn’t stick around at the top for too long so unfortunately we couldn’t get that big group photo at the top but we did snap these…

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Now, I’ve been fairly conservative in describing just how challenging this climb was for some of us. Let me assure you that it was no walk in the park… The trail seemed to go on forever, you couldn’t see the summit above the clouds for the majority of the hike and some of us were even commenting on how we couldn’t wait for our knees and ankles to be hurting on the way down, just so we could get a break from the pressure on our lungs, calves, quads and glutes.

That being said, the journey back down was HARDER. We’d been warned of this by some experienced hikers but I don’t think any of us were prepared for the treacherous descent! Despite near perfect weather conditions, the terrain was steep, uncomfortable, unstable and slippery in places. Hips, knees, ankles and feet were hurting, we had a few tumbles and watched other hikers have to be picked up by helicopters due to falling and injuring themselves (including some triathletes who were RUNNING up and down the mountain). Tears were shed, the ground wasn’t getting any closer and The Ben Nevis Inn (at the bottom) never felt so far away!


Despite the pain, fatigue, awkward public toilet stops and beer cravings we all made it safely back down and WOW! What a relief that was. It was then that we all realised a massive sense of achievement and gratitude for having the opportunity to climb the UK’s highest mountain whilst raising money for people who need it more than us. We were spoiled with incredible views and a once in a lifetime experience in Scotland and it’s one that we’ll never forget! After a takeaway and (more than) a few beers we were all able to recover with a good night’s sleep and even had the chance to explore the surrounding areas on Sunday. Monday saw another early morning to get us all home and ready for work the next day. We even detoured to Edinburgh to see the castle!


We want to say a huge, huge thank you to anyone and everyone that has sponsored us and helped us to support Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice and The Checkatrade Foundation, supporting orphanages in Nepal and children rescued from the sex slave trade.  We’re ecstatic that we have completely smashed our target and raised £1,512.00 so far! Some of us definitely wouldn’t have completed the climb without your support! Jon, on the other hand, can’t wait to go back up with his friends!

Any last donations will be most gratefully received via our JustGiving page

We really cannot get over the support we’ve received as well as how fantastic of an experience and challenge this was. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Can You Help DIY SOS?


DIY SOS have appealed for help from traders in the Isle of Sheppey and the surrounding areas to help rebuild a home for a family with four disabled children.

Kyle Ratcliffe and his husband, Garry have adopted four children, Haydn, Curtis, Isobella and Phoebe, who each have their own complex and life limiting diseases.
After originally fostering the children, the couple chose to adopt them to help keep their family together but their house was completely unsuitable to deal with each child’s needs.

The DIY SOS team were approached by many of the family’s friends and started the mammoth task by knocking down the couple’s home. They will then be returning in October to try and rebuild them a brand new one in 9 days!

If you think you are able to help with this massively worthwhile cause, please email [email protected] with trade details, availability, telephone contact details and a copy of public liability insurance.

You can also read more information about the family and project at;

Checkatrade’s Fundraising Reaches Great Heights!


Sunday, 11th September saw 40 risk-takers come together to descend the mighty heights of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower – all in the name of charity.

The event was a fantastic success bringing together staff and representatives of local businesses, also testing his courage on the day was TV personality and Checkatrade ambassador – Big Brother’s Craig Phillips.

While during his time on Big Brother Craig certainly faced his fair share of challenges, descending the 170m landmark, which is taller than Big Ben, is perhaps one of his greatest!


Speaking of his daredevil descent, Craig said, “I have worked with Checkatrade for a while now and I am continually impressed by not just the great service they offer consumers, in helping them to find a trustworthy trades person, but also by their commitment to raising money and supporting in-need causes. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and it was great to see so many people turn up”.

On the day the weather was perfect, offering the plucky abseilers outstanding views of Portsmouth, the Solent and beyond as they made their descent down the tower, cheered on by their supporters.


Together the group have raised nearly £8,000 for the Lighthouse Foundation which works to support the victims of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the money will also be used to help women and children at risk of a life of trafficking, offering a safe home, clothing, medical care and an education.

Devastating the country, the Nepal earthquake left thousands dead or injured and hundreds of thousands more homeless. It is hoped the money raised from the abseil will go to support the area’s children’s home along with general relief efforts.

This is just one of a series of fundraising events that Checkatrade hosts throughout the year, the company is committed to supporting those in need.

Checkatrade Conquer The Mountain!

On Saturday 17th September, our fantastic group set off early in the morning to conquer Ben Nevis!
We thought it was about time you met the team, so before they left we asked a few of them what they were looking forward to about the event and what they thought their biggest challenge would be…

Matt ‘Stonecold’ Simpson – Personal trainer (Checkatrade’s very own Scotsman)


Matt says: I am most looking forward to the actual challenge of climbing Ben. I am not looking forward to the hangover the next day after we celebrate our achievement!
(Checkatrade encourages those who fancy a tipple to drink responsibly!)


Julie Adams – Membership Liaison Manager


Julie says: I am looking forward to a snowball fight at the top (safety first please Julie, safety first). I think the biggest challenge will be getting up and back down before the pub shuts. Nervous that Matt’s knee may give way and we will have to stretcher him down!


Rachel Burt – Project Manager


Rachel says: I’m really looking forward to visiting Scotland for the first time and taking that team photo at the top! Hopefully the weather will permit us to reach the top and enjoy good views. I’m most nervous about the toilet situation… There are none! We’ll be drinking lots of water to keep hydrated and I can just imagine being the first one in the group that needs to go. If I can survive that I should be able to survive the car journey there and back.


Craig Norris – Developer


Craig says: I’m looking forward to climbing the tallest mountain in the UK, I think I have done the other two of the three peaks, but not Ben Nevis, also looking forward to drinking scotch in Scotland! However I am not looking forward to the post-climb celebration hangover and then achey legs on the drive back! (Again, Checkatrade encourages those who fancy a tipple to drink responsibly!)


Donna Trethewey – Retention Specialist


Donna says: Can’t wait for Ben Nevis. I aspired to see more of this beautiful country at the beginning of the year and decided that climbing it’s highest three peaks would bring that about. Having climbed Snowdon in May and Scafell Pike in June I’ve been lucky enough to visit both Snowdonia and the Lake District this year so far. Climbing Ben Nevis, the highest peak, will see me achieve my year’s goal, see Scotland’s Highlands and complete it with a great bunch of people. Having climbed …& descended two peaks, I’m least looking forward to coming back down the mountain. Going up’s great, you’re fresh & motivated and determined to reach the top. Coming down is just a necessity, you’re tired and it’s much harder on the legs. Also wondering if there’s going to be snow on the peak and if it will allow us to reach the summit. Flippin’ hope so.


Jonathan Woodham – Developer


Jon says: I’m looking forward to the sense of personal achieve with the reward of the view of the top – Being able to have that lifelong accolade of saying I have climbed the highest mountain in the UK. My biggest concern is that there might not be 4G at the top. Haha!


Kristina Dolan – Membership Advisor


Kris says: I love nature and I have always wanted to go to Scotland since I was a kid so I’m really looking forward to exploring. The biggest challenge for me will be looking down once I’m at the top as I am a little scared of heights! But I know the view will be worth it.


Melissa Fletcher – Retention Specialist


Melissa says: I am looking forward to getting to the top and coming back down again – I hope there’s a watering hole at the bottom! The thing I am dreading the most is the journey there and back!


Ester De Vries – Membership Advisor


Ester says: The thing that I am most looking forward to about this trip is to better get to know everyone who is going and help and support each other to reach the top as a team! The thing I am most nervous about is the fact that I do not have much experience and feel a little in the dark as to just how challenging this may be. I am an active person, I love walking and swimming but I am not exactly a gym bunny. So the question is: Am I fit enough?!


Abbie Milnes – Membership Enquiries Advisor


Abbie says: One thing I am looking forward to is getting to the top with my team mates and one thing I am not looking forward to is pushing Shaun to the top! There is nothing else I’m not looking forward to or nervous of!


Emma Nunn – Membership Enquiries Advisor


Emma says: I am looking forward to being able to say that I have completed the challenge! My biggest challenge will be myself… Getting over my nerves of heights and believing I can finish it.


Shaun Fox – Membership Enquiries Advisor


Shaun says: I am looking forward to the challenge of climbing Ben Nevis! I like to think I am quite fit but I am still a bit nervous I won’t make it to the top.


Harriet Milne-Taylor – Membership Consultant


Anthony Holland – Membership Consultant


Craig Parnell – Office Manager – Nottingham


We’re very happy to report every member of the team made it up AND down Ben Nevis safely……but more on the actual climb coming soon!


Please consider sponsoring them! They paid for their travel, accommodation, food and equipment themselves so every penny will go straight to those who need it more.
They’re raising money for The Checkatrade Foundation* and Chestnut Tree House**

You can sponsor the team via or text BNCF48 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.
Thank you for your support!

*The Checkatrade Foundation was set up to support people in need, both locally and oversees. It provides ongoing support to orphanages and schools in Nepal that rescue children from the sex slave industry, as well as supporting other local charities, causes and individuals in need of help. See more about our charity work here

**Chestnut Tree House is a children’s charity providing hospice care services and community support for children and young people with progressive life-shortening conditions throughout East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire. Checkatrade staff have spent time volunteering at Chestnut Tree House and really value the support they provide to local families and feel moved to help support the amazing work they do.