When the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, Railway Children’s extensive events programme was all but wiped out. This left a huge hole in in the charity’s income that would ultimately mean vulnerable children, who needed more support than ever in the middle of a global crisis, might not get the help they need. One of the key events cancelled was the annual Railway Ball, an event that has been running for 20 years, raising over £500,000 every year.
As the rail industry forms a significant part of Railway Children’s supporter base, they were determined to prevent the charity from suffering this significant loss and united to recoup this vital income in whatever way possible, and in a new virtual environment. Leading names from across the rail community united with the charity’s fundraisers to create a diverse event that reached new audiences across the industry and engaged with people at all levels.
Rail Aid was created to meet this challenge head on. It incorporated a week of fundraising activity, culminating in a live appeal show bringing all the highlights from the week together. The activities were designed to appeal to staff from all corners of the sector, and the final event was uplifting, inspiring continued support and reinforcing Railway Children’s position as the industry's favourite charity. The whole event was an incredible success - raising over £540,000, through 65 companies, 1,200 supporters and generating 16,000 views on YouTube.