Play2Give is crowned Charity of the Year in the Thames Valley region

Published: 16th March 2020

Didcot based Play2Give has been named the region’s charity of the year!

In January, the Oxfordshire fundraising organisation which was founded in September 2007 was crowned the winner of the ‘Charity of the Year’ for the Thames Valley at the GB Expo’s latest Thames Valley Business and Community Awards, at a glittering ceremony held at the Hilton at Reading at the end of January.
Andy attended the occasion on behalf of the group of volunteers, and accepted the award paying tribute to ‘his team’ that made it’s success possible.

Play2Give beat off stiff competition amongst other charities including many bigger regional charities within Berkshire and Slough.

Play2Give has donated over £220,000 to many local charities including Oxford Children’s Hospital and Headway Oxfordshire raised through many events and gift appeals since its creation.

The group was set up by Andy Baker from Didcot. Andy, 31, was inspired to ‘give back’ to thank medics who treated him throughout childhood after being born with a brain injury, and underwent brain surgery aged 12.

In 2019 funds of over £15,000 was raised for causes around the county, with over £4,530 given to the Oxford Children’s Hospital. While around, around £70,000 raised in Christmas presents was given out to through Play2Give’s fifth and biggest ‘Sleigh2Give’ festive drive.

Play2Give began life as a football tournament for charity, and over the years many events and fundraising stalls in the local community have been held, and a team of caped crusaders formed early last year to become ‘superheroes’ to help increase the funds and the profile of the organisation.

This year events set to take place include the return of its 7 a side football tournament at Oxford City Football Club in July, its first ever Superheroes themed Colour Run in partnership with the Style Acre charity, in June, and the Didcot Summer Fayre on August 1st.

In 2017, in honour of their incredible achievements, a room named after the group was officially unveiled on the Melanie’s teenage ward at the Oxford Children’s Hospital, after the group raised more than £40,000 to fund the single patient room.

In total the Oxford Children’s Hospital alone has benefited from nearly £65,000 in funds raised over the past 12 years from a wide range of fundraising endeavours, with £12,000 in Play2Give’s milestone tenth year funding cutting edge bedside monitors amongst other medical equipment, toys, games and towards new family accommodation.

Whilst in the same year the group raised £7,000 to fund six specialised neurological physiotherapy exercise chairs at Headway Oxfordshire’s base in Kennington, as part of a £30,000 neuro physiotherapy suite that opened that year.

Founder Andrew Baker set out fundraising 18 years ago aged 14 to repay the ‘gift of life’ to medical teams who helped him throughout his childhood after sustaining a brain injury during birth.  In January Andy was recognised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a prestigious ‘Points of Light’ Award, presented to him at Parliament by Wantage and Didcot MP, David Johnston.