Total donated to good causes so far: £56,927!
(updated Jan 2023)
(and thousands more in the US too!)
At Radical Tea Towel, we care a lot about history. Historical people, historical events: our tea towels celebrate the radical actions in the past that shaped all things good about the present. But our present will become someone else’s history one day, so what we do now matters for the kind of legacy we want to leave behind, the kind of business we endeavour to be.
We want to make our mark, however great or small, on our present and on tomorrow’s history. That’s where you come in. Yes, you. You see, over the years, we’ve given thousands in small grants and donations to various good causes in our annual ‘Good Causes Giveaways’ and through product sales – all because of your support. Thank you for keeping us going. Here’s what we’ve been able to achieve together.
To start the year, we gave £1,522 to campaigns and causes associated with the sales of specific tea towels, along with a final £2,000 food bank donation from the sale of face masks, fulfilling a promise first made at the start of the pandemic.
The Abergavenny Foodbank (our local food bank) received this year's food bank donation - they provide nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people in crisis.
New charities and campaigns we were proud to support this year were:
- The Mary Seacole Trust (£50), which seeks to educate the public about the life and work of pioneering, Jamaican born nurse Mary Seacole, and maintains her statue outside St Thomas's Hospital.
- The Matchgirls Memorial (£104), an organisation seeking a statue to commemorate the Matchgirls strike of 1888 which played a key role in labour history.
- Brooks Arts (£452), a community interest company which supports the development of socially engaged art practice.
- Big Local Works (£66), a charity based in Southwark supporting the local community.
- Medical Aid for Palestinians (£178) which works for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees.
- The Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal (£440) which helps deliver food, warmth, clean water and medical care to people in Ukraine and supports refugees in neighbouring countries.
Further donations were also given to our regular partners: Orgreave Truth & Justice, CND, Refugee Action and the People’s History Museum in Manchester.
Good Causes Giveaways
A winter warmer: December 2021 and January 2022
Over the winter we managed to bring some comfort to our regular causes, the People's History Museum, the Orgreave Truth & Justice campaign, CND, the Mary Seacole Trust, and Refugee Action. In addition, we gave help to arts education via our Battle of Cable Street products.
Battling covid: Good Causes Giveaway 2021
In January 2021 we extended our yearly donations from tea towel sales to include the Mary Seacole Trust & CND (see our Regular Donations section to find out more). And we also decided to make our biggest single donation to date, unrelated to sales…
One morning in the New Year we heard that the People’s History Museum in Manchester, a simply fantastic place to learn about radical history and a regular Radical Tea Towel customer, was threatened with closure as a result of the lack of footfall during lockdown. We couldn’t stand idly by and let this happen! So we committed to make a donation of £10,000 to their crowdfunding campaign. This helped them surpass their target by a long way. But we can’t take all the credit; it’s through your generosity and support, as our valued customers, that this was made possible.
WSPU Manchester banner
In March we gave £1,000 to Cronfa Glyndwr, a Welsh charity which supports community efforts to help children improve their Welsh language skills within the education system. Luke, Tim and Bea, the founders of Radical Tea Towel, are all Welsh speakers and have lived in Wales for many years. The Welsh language is very close to all our hearts and we want to see children thriving in the language.
We don't think anyone in our community should ever have to face going hungry. That's why in March we also gave £5000 from the sale of our face masks to our local food bank in Abergavenny which relies on the support of the local community and businesses like ours. The food bank provides three days' nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis.
More donations: Good Causes Giveaway 2020
In early 2020 we made donations of £1000 each to 3 further good causes:
The Emily Davison Memorial Project, which is raising funds to erect a statue in Epsom town centre in memory of suffragette Emily Davison who died after injuries she sustained at the Epsom Derby in 1913 whilst campaigning for votes for women.
The Peter Tatchell Foundation, which campaigns to promote and protect the human rights of individuals, communities and nations, in the UK and internationally.
The Trussell Trust, which continues to work tirelessly with its network of food banks to support those struggling to feed their families during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
In September 2020, in response to the unprecedented Covid 19 crisis and the huge increase in those struggling to pay their bills and feed their families, we're really proud to announce that Radical Tea Towel donated £10,552 to the Trussell Trust food bank charity. This comes in addition to £1,000 we donated in April this year and further donations of 600 cloth face masks to 15 other local and national charities working in the community with vulnerable groups. This was funded entirely by our sales of cloth face masks so our thanks go to our generous customers without whom this would not have been possible.
Bea giving a box of white masks to Becci, who works for Mind Cymru.
Making tradition: Good Causes Giveaway 2019
It was time to make a tradition out of it. In March 2019, we chose five more good causes together to receive £400 each from a pot of £2000.
Stonewall: A lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender charity named after the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City's Greenwich Village. It's now the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe.
The Working Class Movement Library, Salford: One of the most unusual libraries in the world which contains books, documents and other resources about working class history and movements.
Red Cross Appeal, Syria: Provides desperately needed resources for Syrian refugees who have fled their homes as a result of the civil war.
Women’s Aid: Offers lifesaving support services for vulnerable women and children across the UK.
Grenfell Tower Appeal (The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation): Identifies and invests in projects which provide hope, opportunities and healing in the community of North Kensington in the wake of this disaster.
Bigger and better: Good Causes Giveaway 2018
We knew 2017 was just the beginning. How could we stop? Your enthusiasm and engagement was overwhelming. So when 2018 came around, we decided to match your passion, doubling the pot to £2000. Again, we asked for nominations, and again, you voted for your values. We’re proud to have been able to contribute to these five excellent causes:
Medical Aid for Palestinians: A cause close to the heart of Pat Crick, the grandmother who first inspired Radical Tea Towel, received £521.
Womankind Worldwide: Empowering women and girls in the developing world, received £489.
Llamau: Supporting homeless youth in Wales, received £431.
Mary on the Green: The campaign for a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft on Newington Green, London, received £281.
Amnesty International: Human rights campaigners, supporting brave radicals speaking out in the world, received £278.
Whether you supported these good causes by writing to us about your values, by voting for your favourite charities, or by simply being a Radical Tea Towel customer, thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Humble beginnings: Good Causes Giveaway 2017
2016 was a globally tumultuous year, but your responses left us inspired. More than ever, people rallied together to speak out against the rhetoric of division and hatred. We wanted to start 2017 with these values of solidarity in mind too, so early that year we launched our first Good Causes Giveaway.
The idea was simple: we put together a pot of £1000, and we left the rest to you. We asked you which good causes you wanted that money to go towards, and you responded passionately. In less than a week, we received over 100 nominations, through email, Facebook and Twitter of wonderful organisations doing things you cared about.
We chose five from these nominations, and then asked to you vote on how you wanted the money to be donated. You spoke, we listened. An incredible 1250 votes were cast, and these were the great causes you felt most strongly about:
CRIBS International: Provides homes for refugee mums and their families, received £510.
Glasgow Women’s Library: Home of some fantastic collections by and about radical women, received £160.
The Trussell Trust: A network of UK food banks, received £120.
Hope not Hate: A group campaigning against the politics of hate, received £110.
The Proud Trust: An LGBT+ support group based in Manchester, received £100.
Together, we were able to help these groups continue doing good in the world.
Donations and dedications
Pete's 10k charity runs
In 2018, Pete, our resident radical history expert, made two 10k charity runs. He raised a total of £2,387 – all with your help. These proceeds went to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). MAP does vital work in the Occupied Territories and surrounding Palestinian refugee camps to provide lifesaving medical care to those living under or displaced by occupation - it's a vital cause, now more than ever, and Radical Tea Towel is proud to have supported it.
The Refugee Crisis
In the Calais Jungle Refugee camp, thousands of our fellow humans were, and still are, in desperate situations. We couldn’t stand by, so in September 2015, we launched a campaign on our Facebook and Twitter pages to help provide some much-needed items for the refugees living in the camp. We wanted to raise £750 to provide thermal mats, a UNHCR tent and help build shelters. These were items that were recommended to us in our research as being crucial.
We asked you to donate what you could, and you went beyond our expectations. Your donations raised £800, ensuring all the crucial supplies – and more – could be bought. The success of this campaign was all down to your generosity, so thank you. You did a wonderful job.
One of the inspirations for our fundraising was the experiences of another family member, Tom Bailey. You can read his post about Calais and Lesbos on our blog!
The ongoing refugee crisis is a humanitarian disaster, and Calais was just one infamous episode of it. Although our successful campaign was over, our work was far from done. The same year, we produced a refugee tea towel and mug design, featuring a quote from “A New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.
For every refugee tea towel or mug bought, we give a £1 donation to Refugee Action on your behalf. This is an organisation doing some great work to provide support and relief for refugees across the UK, including legal aid, practical support and guidance. So, when you buy one of these, you’ve helped them continue their truly great work. You star.
So far, you’ve managed to raise well over £1,000 for Refugee Action.
Rape crisis England and Wales
Rape Crisis England and Wales is a fantastic feminist organisation, who work to promote the needs and rights of women and girls who have experienced sexual abuse. Their member centres provide support by women, for women and girls.
We think their work is invaluable, and so in 2016, we designed and released a limited edition Audre Lorde mug. Lorde was a writer, who described herself as a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”. For every one of these mugs you bought, we were able to donate £1 to Rape Crisis England and Wales on behalf of you and Lorde’s legacy. Thank you for your support!
The People’s History Museum
Every year we give a donation to the People’s History Museum in Manchester from sales of our Manchester WSPU tea towels and greetings cards. £1 of every purchase of the tea towel goes towards work by the People's History Museum to maintain the original WSPU banner which was restored by the museum and can now be viewed there.
The Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign
With every Battle of Orgreave tea towel sold we also donate £1 to the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign, which campaigns for justice for miners who were victims of police lies and cover ups at Orgreave during the miners’ strike in June 1984.
The Mary Seacole Trust
Mary Seacole was a nurse who overcame racism within the establishment to go to the Crimean War battlefields. She represents compassion, bravery, entrepreneurialism and sheer determination but her story was hidden from history for 100 years.
Thanks to a determined public fundraising campaign by the trust, a statue of Mary, the first bronze statue of a named black woman in the UK, was erected in London in June 2016. The Mary Seacole Trust works not only to maintain this beautiful memorial but seeks to raise awareness of the important contributions to our society over centuries made by black and ethnic minorities.
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament campaigns non-violently to achieve British nuclear disarmament – to get rid of the Trident nuclear weapons system and stop its replacement. CND recognises that Britain’s nuclear weapons are only a small part of the problem, so it also campaigns for a global nuclear weapons ban.
Products for fundraising
We’ve been able to make our products go even further by donating them so that they can be sold or auctioned in order to raise money for a good cause. Recent stock donations include giving to the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan and Emmaus Medway, a homeless charity. We also regularly donate items to a refugee support organisation in the Cardiff area.
So, if you’ve bought one of our products through these initiatives, we’re really grateful. You may not have known it at the time, but you were part of something bigger: part of our shared values, our shared contributions, our shared humanity. And together, we’ve raised more than £3,350 through these!
That’s the story so far, and once again we thank you for helping us write it. Now, with the unprecedented difficulties we are facing this year as a result of the coronavirus it is even more important that we continue to do what we can to alleviate the suffering of others. This will no doubt be our priority for the year ahead and our giveaway choices for 2021.