Sometimes kindness comes naturally to me. Sometimes I have to be reminded. But sometimes the need to be kind hits me like a fist in the face.
On 3 September 2015 a three-year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey and a heartbreaking photo of him went viral. Alan had drowned while fleeing the war ravaging his country.
The response from the British public was extraordinary, with one in three Britons contributing to a nationwide relief effort, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).
Water cooler moments at the Stranger Collective office kept coming back to the question: What can we do to help? After ditching various impossible madcap ideas, including driving to Calais with a vanload of sleeping bags, we settled on the most doable madcap idea. One which would make the most money, the fastest, and would draw on our extended collective in the most exciting and productive way possible.
So we set about organising an auction to raise money for Save the Children’s refugee crisis fund. Knowing that the story was already slipping down the news agenda, we gave ourselves just two weeks to make it happen.
Drawing on the cultural community of Cornwall, as well as international artists and buyers from as far afield as Australia and Germany, we corralled, then collected and curated the work of more than 100 creatives.
Everyone we approached donated their work, space, time, food, music and drink without a second thought. And because of these individual kindnesses, we were able to create something that, in its own small way, was quite wonderful. We hosted an auction that raised more than £8000 for Save the Children.
Stranger Collective is a creative content studio that integrates passion projects into its approach to working. Big thanks to Nicola Robey, Amie Knights, Wyl Menmuir, Alfie Hayward, Megan Beck, George Mackay, Ruth Littlejohns, Jessie Higginson, and a whole bunch of other big-hearted, talented people who helped put the event together. Ditto Verdant Brewing and Waitrose, who kindly donated classy booze and chef Jess Oughton who made the canapés.
The project was shortlisted for The Hub Business Awards Best Creative Project 2016.