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The Very Group and Coram Beanstalk celebrate £640,000 charity partnership completion

December 19, 2023

The Very Group and Coram Beanstalk are celebrating the end of a four-year charity partnership, during which the digital retailer raised £640,000 to fund one-on-one reading support for more than 40,000 children through the charity’s network of schools and volunteer reading partners.

Coram Beanstalk’s research shows 97% of schools receiving its support see an improvement in general attitude to learning, and that children who choose to read feel better about themselves and do better in school and in life.

Digital innovation during the pandemic

The partnership began in late 2019, with Very getting creative about fundraising initiatives when the pandemic arrived in spring 2020 and colleagues could not be together physically. During lockdowns, the retailer donated tech bundles to schools and launched a virtual bookshelf which saw colleagues record classic children’s stories for families to enjoy, as well as taking part in sunflower growing competitions, virtual pet shows and walking challenges.

Customer-facing campaigns and activity

As the partnership progressed, Very launched customer-facing activity with a digital story telling social campaign featuring celebrities and product collaborations such as Roald Dahl x Very pyjamas and bedding, with at least 30% of the purchase price donated to Coram Beanstalk. There was also an exclusive range of children’s tracksuits featuring characters from Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Gruffalo and Other Stories’ for World Book Day and a celebrity-fronted pop-up giveaway event on London’s South Bank to empower families who may otherwise have struggled to provide school uniforms and supplies.

Back to the 80s with a star-studded charity ball

In December 2022, Very hosted a 1980s-themed charity ball which raised £180,000 for Coram Beanstalk. The event’s 800 guests were treated to performances from some of the era’s most iconic artists, including Go West, Paul Young, Tony Hadley and The Human League, and bid generously to win a selection of coveted prizes and experiences such as VIP backstage passes to gigs and festivals.

A Very big team effort

Throughout the partnership, Very colleagues’ enthusiasm and commitment to supporting Coram Beanstalk contributed significantly to the total amount raised. There were sponsored events which saw team members walk on hot coals, dress up as characters from books and take part in scavenger hunts, as well as hundreds of bake sales, auctions, competitions and raffles. Other colleagues completed skydives, climbed mountains and took on walking and running challenges including the London Marathon.

Lionel Desclée, Group CEO at The Very Group, said: “I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved during our partnership with Coram Beanstalk. The charity’s work is aligned with our own purpose of helping families get more out of life and we’re hopeful that the reading support we’ve enabled will make a lasting difference to children’s lives.

"I’d like to say a huge thank you to Very’s colleagues, customers, partners and suppliers who helped us reach our £640,000 total in many different big and small ways, and to the Coram Beanstalk team for being brilliant partners over the last four years.”

Dr Carol Homden, CEO at Coram, added: "We are immensely grateful to The Very Group for its support over the past four years and achieving this fantastic total to transform the lives of thousands of children.

“Thanks to the Group’s generosity and commitment, we are able to help more children discover a love of reading and build skills for life. This work is as pressing as ever as children continue to recover from the pandemic.

"A huge thank you to The Very Group colleagues, customers and all who made this partnership possible, for helping us to create change that will last a lifetime."

Contact information

Media relations

Ashley Muldoon |

Notes to editors

With annual revenue of £2.15bn,The Very Groupis a unique digital business that combines online retail and flexible payments. Our digital retail brands, Very and Littlewoods, help to bring over 2,000 desirable labels within easy reach of more customers. 

Across electrical, home, fashion and more, we sell everything our 4.4 million customers could need, except food. And our flexible payment options, which are provided responsibly via our Very Pay platform and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, help our customers manage their household budgets. 

We have over a hundred years of history behind us, but at our heart there is a passion for change – to constantly improve what we do, to innovate with data and technology at our core and to be the best possible place to work. 

For more information, follow us onLinkedIn andInstagram. 

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