COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on charity fundraising and this year teams from the RBL Annual Poppy Appeal have had to work even harder to come up with safe and novel ways of raising much-needed funds.
Helen Heaney Poppy Appeal leader of the Bushmills RBL branch explains that although the appeal has never been short of enthusiast volunteers, the pandemic has created unprecedented barriers to the traditional fundraising initiatives. “We have had to put our heads together (virtually) and come up with ideas that are Covid safe to ensure we continue to raise funds for our veteran community that need our support, now more than ever.”
The French Rooms Restaurant in Bushmills has had a longstanding relationship with the local RBL branch and has supported their annual exhibition ‘Bushmills through the wars’ curated by Glenda Rodgers McCormick BEM.
Owner Stella Bolton encourages support despite the challenges that exist.
She said “There is a strong community spirit here in Bushmills and one only has to listen to the list of the fallen on Remembrance Sunday to understand the depth of support there is for the work our local RBL branch.
“Hospitality businesses are struggling in this village which relies on tourism. Many of us do not have the resources to contribute as much as we would like to but what we do have is time and enthusiasm. I am very happy to bake scones and make poppy flowers from icing in return for a small contribution in place of what we would have been collecting through selling poppies in our restaurant, in fact, it is a welcome distraction”.
Glenda Rodgers BEM concludes “The past few months have given us all time to reflect and there is no doubt is has been difficult, very bleak at times, but when I personally feel that level of despair I take inspiration from those who selflessly fought for our freedom, at times at a cost to themselves and their families. I believe what is expected of us is tough but by no means insurmountable and we must
muster the resolve to get through this together”
A number of shops and businesses in the village are selling poppies and The French Rooms Poppy scones are available to pre-order online from their website. The branch has received guidance and clearance to do a street fundraiser on the 6th & 7th November 2020.