M&S reaches £10m donations to Sparks Charities

M&S has hit the huge donation milestone of £10m to Sparks’ roster of deserving charity partners.

M&S donates to each Sparks customer’s chosen charity every time they shop at M&S – whether in-store, online or via the M&S app – and this weekend M&S made its one billionth donation.

Here in Northern Ireland, M&S has partnered with local charity Action Cancer to raise much needed funds through the Sparks initiative. Now in its twelfth year, the partnership between M&S and Action Cancer has gone from strength to strength.

Action Cancer is Northern Ireland’s leading, local and award-winning cancer charity. Their mission is to save lives and support local people through cancer awareness, prevention, detection and support. M&S donations help to fund their therapeutic support services, offering a range of services to any adult or child affected by cancer from diagnoses stage, during or after treatment.

Since the launch of Sparks, donations have helped provide 93 complimentary therapy sessions and 83 counselling sessions to those people in need.

The scheme is a key way in which Sparks achieves its customer promise of making good things happen every time you shop. From protecting wildlife and the environment to supporting young people and the vulnerable, the scope of the 35 charities and causes customers can choose to support is broad, and every penny donated makes a difference. Sparks donations have also helped:

  • Oxfam give lifesaving support to over 14 million people in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Fund over 330,000 hours of vital breast cancer risk & prevention research for Breast Cancer Now since 2015.
  • Shelter answer over 29,500 calls to its emergency helpline since 2015.
  • akt support over 700 young LGBTQ+ people facing homelessness and abuse during the pandemic simply for being who they are.
  • The Marine Conservation Society secure protection for 38% of UK seas; improve the sustainability in over 760 million seafood meals; and helped get plastic straws, coffee stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds banned – all since 2015.
  • RNLI save 349 lives and help over 33,500 people since 2020.

Lucy McCusker, Corporate Fundraising Manager at Action Cancer said: “The support we have received from both M&S colleagues and customers since being chosen as a Sparks charity in 2020 has been amazing! We have a longstanding partnership with M&S and are delighted to have their ongoing support.

“So far there have been over 745,000 transactions in support of Action Cancer, allowing us to continue to offer our extensive range of therapeutic support services to local people all across Northern Ireland. At Action Cancer we have seen a huge increase in demand for our support services such as counselling and complementary therapies, as so many local people affected by a cancer diagnosis became more isolated and suffered badly from poor mental health as they came out of lockdown.”

Lucy added: “These Sparks transactions, where local customers and M&S colleagues select Action Cancer as their Sparks charity, coupled with future Sparks donations, will ensure that people across the province will receive our help when they need it most.”

Jo Daniels, Head of Partnerships, Plan A, said: “At M&S we have a longstanding history of supporting the causes that matter most to our customers and colleagues – whether on a local level in the many hundred communities we operate in or on a national level with our support for our fantastic charity partners. I’m hugely proud that M&S has now reached the £10m Sparks donation milestone and want to say a big thank you to our Sparks customers for helping us get there.”

Supporting customers and communities

Sparks donations are just one facet of M&S’ commitment to supporting local communities and valuable causes up and down the UK.

Other initiatives include the retailer’s food redistribution scheme in partnership with Neighbourly, which has helped to donate the equivalent of over 30.1 million meals to those in need since 2016; and its longstanding support for NHS services – which over the past 18 months has seen M&S donate thousands of t-shirts and pyjamas for local NHS staff to use as uniform, launch special NHS charity t-shirts and shopping bags, and launch a dedicated ‘Rainbow Sale’ to raise money for NHS Charities Together.

Download Sparks and get M&S to donate every time you shop

Following the relaunch of Sparks as a digital first loyalty programme last year, it’s never been easier for customers to download Sparks and get M&S to donate to charity every single time they shop.

Customers have 35 charities & causes to choose from and customers can change their chosen charity as often as they like. Customers can also elect to ‘support all charities’ if they’d prefer to spread their donations rather than support one specific cause.

All relevant information, such as the cumulative total raised for each Sparks charity, can be found in the Sparks Hub on the M&S App – which can be downloaded in just 30 seconds by clicking here.

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