Celebrating International Day of Charity

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A small act of kindness can have the biggest impact.

Tuesday 5th September 2023, welcomes #InternationalDayOfCharity. A day where the world unites to celebrate the power of giving, the strength of kindness and the beauty of selflessness.

Established in honour of the remarkable Mother Teresa, this day serves as a tribute to helping those who need it most. Mother Teresa's legacy is a testament to the incredible transformations that can occur when people dedicate themselves to acts of selflessness and compassion.

Inspiring acts of kindness 

The essence of this day lies in its ability to inspire. It encourages us to look beyond our own lives and consider the well-being of others. Small gestures, like donating to a local charity, volunteering, or simply extending a helping hand to a neighbour in need, can make a difference.

Hope prevails

The year 2023 has been rife with challenges that have tested everyone’s resilience. Yet, even on the darkest days, stories of compassion shine through. From individuals mobilising to provide aid in the aftermath of natural disasters, to people donating their own goods to those fleeing their homes, these acts of kindness remind us that there are good people in the world. Willing to give back in any way they can.

A way to give back

You don’t always have to do something big to make a difference. It’s the little things that can often have the most impact.

Two people holding their hands in a heart shape

Here at make a smile lottery, we work hard to help raise vital funds for our charity partners. Giving them not only an income, but a stable and regular income that they can rely on. £1 a week may seem like a drop in the ocean. But you will be surprised what can be achieved with this little amount when combined with the generosity of others.

With the current economic challenges charities face, the need for a reliable income they can plan with has become critical. This helps them continue to run their essential services. Ensuring that they will still be here in the future for those who need them the most.

Our Charity Partners

Make a smile lottery work with 19 different charities across the UK. Working together to spread the word about their fantastic work. Helping more people to play the lottery to support and providing the income that they can rely on.

See below our different charity partners and how they make a difference within their local community.

Age UK Northamptonshire

Age UK Northamptonshire is a local charity providing services and support to older people and their families in Northamptonshire. Everything they do enables older people across the county to love later life. They believe later years should be fulfilling years, whether you are going through tough times or want to socialise and make new friends, they are there to help.

They provide a range of services, some free and some for which there is a charge, all aimed at improving people’s quality of life. The charity’s support enables thousands of older people to live independently for as long as they wish and are able to. They work to prevent frailty, poverty and loneliness.

Old lady with breathing tubes laughing

Age Well East

Age Well East advise and provide practical information; they connect communities to tackle loneliness and encourage mental and physical wellness.

They also offer support to people in later years who are experiencing emotional challenges, such as caring for someone at the end of their life or living through bereavement, and they support people and their carers through a dementia diagnosis. they do this to improve people’s quality of life, especially during hard or challenging times.

Whether it be a query about pensions, housing, or help to find a trusted plumber, they can provide excellent and trusted advice and support. From empowering people to navigate the benefit system to putting them in touch with volunteer friends who are relatable and compassionate.

Whatever is preventing people from living happy, healthy lives, they are here to help them solve it.

Old lady in a pink jumper with support worker sat having a cup of tea at the table


Blesma, The Limbless Veterans are dedicated to assisting serving and ex-service men and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss or the loss of use of a limb, an eye or loss of sight. Since 1932, they have been the only national service charity that supports limbless veterans for life, offering financial and emotional support to them and their families.

Rehabilitation, advocacy, counselling and care are the foundations of what they do. Their welfare support allows members and their families to face the challenges ahead with renewed confidence and self-belief. They rely on the generous support of people like you to enable them to help their injured and limbless veterans for as long as they need them. Blesma is for life.

Limbless veteran sat in a wheelchair in the garden

Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity

Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity want to transform healthcare in the community. They will push the boundaries of possibility to make every patient experience the best it can possibly be. With the money they raise they can deliver more than is possible with NHS funding alone. From large scale building projects and refurbishing wards to make them dementia friendly, through to the latest neonatal incubators and comfortable reclining chairs for expectant parents, there are no boundaries to what they can achieve.

Male nurse smiling wearing red scrubs

Different Strokes

Different Strokes is run by younger stroke survivors for younger stroke survivors with the majority of staff and trustees being survivors themselves so they have personal experience of the realities of life after stroke and recognise that the Different Strokes community and family members are the experts in stroke recovery and rehabilitation with first-hand knowledge of the issues and challenges facing families.

Hamelin Trust

Hamelin Trust is an Essex based Charity, founded 40 years ago by two families raising children with learning disabilities. They wanted to provide life enriching support that was not readily available, affordable or easy to access, for families just like them.

Hamelin Trust want young people and adults with learning disabilities to lead healthy, happy and fulfilling lives, and provide support that allows Mum and Dad to be Mum and Dad.

This insight sits at the heart of what they do.


HARP is Southend’s homeless charity, helping over 1,200 people every year who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They provide essential services like food, clothing and washing facilities, as well as emergency and long-term supported housing. By playing the make a smile lottery for HARP, you will be helping more local people overcome homelessness for good.

Homelessness is a diverse and complex issue, and many homeless people remain hidden; sofa surfing, sleeping rough away from danger, or living between places as and when the opportunity arises. At HARP, they have a tried and tested pathway to support people to move on to an independent life. They aim to provide tailored, innovative solutions for specific groups to get the best possible results and help as many people move on as possible.

Head to Toe

Head to Toe is the official charity for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, who specialise in caring for people of all ages with long-term physical or mental health needs. Their mission is to enhance the incredible work of their trust by providing additional equipment, services and support that go above and beyond what the NHS can fund. They focus on four main areas of work:

  • Children’s and adult’s mental health services.
  • Long-term physical healthcare.
  • Wellbeing and training for NHS Staff.
  • Adult's and children with learning disabilities.

Old men standing together with their arms round each other smiling


Heartbeat exists to ensure that people being treated at the Wessex Cardiac Centre are provided with the best possible care and support. Cardiac treatment is often a very long and complicated journey, affecting many people in separate ways. Their work over the years has allowed them to ensure that everybody, from patients to friends and relatives; will be supported every step of the way.

They have raised over £20 million together with their supporters since 1992. This has put in place crucial improvements in the Wessex Cardiac Centre, that wouldn’t otherwise have happened. The same improvements that patients, their relatives, doctors, nurses and many others, consistently tell them make a real difference.

London Ambulance Charity

The London Ambulance Charity is the official registered NHS charity raising voluntary income to support one of the busiest ambulance services in the UK, if not the world; the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

The Charity raises vital funds to improve patient care through advancements and improved staff wellbeing which are beyond what’s capable solely with statutory government funding. In doing so, we improve the care provided to the over 9 million people who live in, work in, and visit London.

London ambulance car parked with city skyline at sunset

The Medway Hospital Charity

The Medway Hospital Charity exists to fund projects for patient and staff benefit. Thanks to your generous donations, they have been able to buy much-valued additional equipment, refurbish wards and patient areas, plus commission training and health and wellbeing projects over and above the NHS budget.

It is a real privilege to do this work, and without the generosity if the local community, this work would not be possible.

Mid & North East Essex Mind

Mid and North East Essex Mind is a local independent charity, affiliated to the national cause, Mind. They raise their own money to run their services, open to children, young people and adults living with mental health problems in Essex. These include counselling, peer support, practical support and an out-of-hours crisis support service.


MS-UK’s vision is to improve the understanding of multiple sclerosis and provide support where it is needed most.

MS-UK was established in 1993 and is a small national cause that supports anyone affected by multiple sclerosis, to empower them and live healthier and happier lives. MS is a disease of the central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord). MS-UK provides vital services such as a national helpline, a bi-monthly magazine, a range of exercise classes, well-being courses, information sessions and peer support groups online and the only national counselling service for people living with MS in the UK. The charity supports anyone affected by MS through these key services.

Newlife, The Charity for Disabled Children

Newlife is now the largest charitable provider of equipment for disabled children and on average supports over 2,500 disabled children and their families each year. As well as providing specialist disability equipment they offer advice through their nurse-led helpline, run a sensory toy loan service and undertake campaigning and advocacy to improve disabled children's wellbeing.

Newlife exists because right now, thousands of disabled and terminally ill children in the UK are living without the vital equipment they need. They help thousands of children across the UK who are disabled through childhood cancers, genetic illnesses, accidents, diseases and infections. Alongside dealing with their disability, the sad fact is that many children don’t have the specialist equipment they really need to help them through each day.

As a result, children are suffering needless pain, their health is worsening, and they are missing out on life’s opportunities. Families are desperately trying to cope; dedicated parents lack support and many become injured trying to care without the right equipment. Newlife offers a lifeline for families, providing life-changing or life-saving specialist equipment when and where it is needed.

RSPCA East Norfolk Branch

The RSPCA East Norfolk is an independent branch of the RSPCA, covering the area of Gt. Yarmouth and Gorleston to the south and stretches almost as far as Cromer in the north. The aim of the branch is to ensure that all animals brought to it because of neglect, ill-treatment or because they are no longer wanted are given the best possible care before being re-homed. At present their pets are looked after at private boarding establishments and also in fosterer’s homes when extra TLC is required. The branch also has a clinic on Tar Works Road, Gt. Yarmouth which provides essential care for sick pets whose owners are unable to afford vets bills.

Kitten in a pink blanket with big sad eyes

RSPCA Essex South, Southend & District Branch

The RSPCA Essex South, Southend and District Branch is one of 144 independently registered branch charities supporting the work of RSPCA Inspectorate in the local area around Southend. It is volunteer run and the team fundraise locally to support animal welfare within the district of the branch (postcodes SS0 through SS12).

The branch is run by a dedicated committee of locally elected volunteers and they are fully committed to improving the lives of local animals as well as offering veterinary financial assistance for those most in need. RSPCA Essex South, Southend and District offer advice, support and guidance and aim to promote responsible pet ownership through local microchipping and neutering campaigns.

RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk Branch

The RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk is an independent branch of the RSPCA. Their mission is to raise awareness, provide practical support and demonstrate compassion in order to deliver excellent animal welfare in their branch area. They rehome a variety of animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, small furries and exotics such as reptiles and birds. They do not have an animal centre so all of their animals are housed either at private boarding establishments or with fosterers.

They also financially support pet owners including subsidised neutering for cats, dogs and rabbits, along with offering financial aid towards veterinary bills on a case by case basis.

Tenovus Cancer Care

Tenovus Cancer Care is Wales’ leading cancer charity, they’ve been supporting people in communities throughout Wales for over 80 years. Each year over 20,000 are people diagnosed with cancer in Wales, that’s one person every 30 minutes.

If you have cancer, or you’re close to someone who has, Tenovus Cancer Care can help from the moment of diagnosis and beyond. If you have questions about cancer, their experienced nurses are there 365 days a year with information, practical advice and support.

lady scientist in a lab coat holding a test tube with blue liquid

The Rob George Foundation

The Rob George Foundation was founded in loving memory of Rob George, who died aged 21 on 9th December 2013 following a long battle with leukaemia.

The Rob George Foundation has been set up to:

  • Provide practical and/or financial support to young people with life threatening or terminal illnesses.
  • Provide financial support to young people who demonstrate exceptional commitment and/or ability in the worlds of sport or the performing arts but may be held back by their financial situation from pursuing their goals.

Rob George was a talented sportsman. He excelled at golf, hockey and cricket. At the time of his last illness he had just broken into the Colchester & East Essex 1st XI and had been elected a full playing member of the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club).

But Rob’s sporting achievements – and his life – was cruelly cut short by acute myeloid leukaemia. Diagnosed in June 2011 and treated at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, Rob achieved full remission but two years after his initial diagnosis the leukaemia returned. Further chemotherapy followed and a stem cell transplant was planned but Rob died in December 2013.

Rob was brave and dignified, caring not for himself but for his family and friends. His wish was that a Foundation be set up in his memory to support young people who faced similar intolerable financial difficulties to those he had encountered. Rob also wanted the Foundation to provide financial support to those in the worlds of sport or the performing arts.

Older couple gardening in the outdoors

Join the lottery family!

This International Day of Charity, let us take a moment to reflect on our ability to make a difference.

You can join the lottery family by playing make a smile lottery every week. Not only will you be giving back to your chosen charity, but you will also be doing something amazing. Helping those in your local community who need it most.





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