Since lockdown began and the sun has come out, many people have taken to spending time in their gardens – and the Parish of Hutton Rudby has seized on this opportunity.

When not being able to run their usual Christian Aid coffee morning and cake stall, the church and its LEP decided to 'go virtual' by organising an online plant sale to fundraise for the charity.

Pat Searle, a member of the church community, explains, “I emailed church members from each of the three denominations asking if anyone had any plants, cuttings, or vegetables that they would be willing to donate to an online sale.

“We were so pleased that our local garden centre also donated eight beautiful plants.

“I then made a database of who was offering what, made up a catalogue of what was available and circulated it with photos.

“People were then invited to contact me to buy anything; I put them in touch with the ‘seller’ to arrange a socially distanced collection – and when they asked "how much" I gave them details of the online giving page.

“Obviously there were donations not related to the plant sale, but most of the donors also Gift Aided their donations.

"Suffice to say, that the total we raised as a village from both donations and the plant sale for Christian Aid, including Gift Aid, was £3,110 which is about £700 more than last year!

“It was not too difficult to run, people were happy to collect from doorsteps and were happy to make an online donation – no one gave less than £5 and some were extremely generous.

“We are thinking of doing another virtual plant sale or table top sale, this time to raise funds for the church – we have now set up an online giving button on the church website and A Church Near You (ACNY) using Give a Little, so could easily direct people to this."

Sammi Tooze, Diocesan Generous Giving Adviser, commented, “One of the things that lockdown has taught us is that there are creative ways to adapt the things we enjoy, and Hutton Rudby are an excellent example of doing this.

“The creativity of this church has raised really valuable funds for Christian Aid, and are sure to see the same success when repeating something similar for the church and LEP.

  • Is your church interested in Virtual Fundraising? Our Generous Giving Team have put together some useful top tips to get you started! For more information, please click here.