As you may be aware, Southend News Network will be releasing a Charity Christmas Single on December 2nd 2016 called Dartford Tolls. Sung by the super-talented Annie Humphrey, the song is all about the daily terrors of the Dartford Crossing, and the proceeds from all sales will be split evenly between Shelter and the British Heart Foundation. You can find out more and pre-order by clicking here.

Over the last few days, we have received a number of messages and comments from people asking why we are not making more of a ‘big deal’ about the two charities that we are raising money for. In particular, we have also been asked why we are not using their logos in all of our promotional material, and there is a very good reason for this – we want to make it absolutely clear that we are NOT trying to ‘play down’ the charitable fundraising that is attached to the song.

Charitable fundraising can be a legal, administrative and corporate minefield at the best of times, and we have approached both the British Heart Foundation and Shelter to inform them of these fundraising efforts. While we have a mutual contact who is liaising with Shelter on our behalf, we contacted the British Heart Foundation directly regarding the use of their logo and any other sort of official endorsement. After a long conversation with one of their employees we have come to the mutual understanding that they will not be able to officially endorse our fundraising efforts.

We completely understand their reasons for this as they have to be very careful about officially putting their name and branding to any sort of third-party activity. While they are going to be enormously grateful for every single penny that they receive, at the same time they cannot be seen to be supporting any sort of cause that has a political or a controversial message – it is obvious that writing an expletive-laden tune about a privatised river crossing would fall into this category!

We did pick up a lovely bit of corporate speak during this conversation. Officially the project will be going ahead as a ‘DYOT’ fundraiser. Let us know at newsdesk@southendnewsnetwork.com if you can figure out what that means 🙂

Our reasons for choosing the BHF are well known, and our singer Annie has already mentioned that her father died suddenly of heart failure virtually eight years before the release date on December 2nd 2016. She has supported their vital research and community outreach work in the past, and you can find out more by taking a look at their website.

In addition to this, both of my (Chief Reporter’s) parents have suffered relatively minor heart attacks in the last few years, and so it is a cause that we both feel passionate about.

Shelter is also a cause that requires financial support at Christmas, perhaps even more so than at other times of the year. It goes without saying that the festive season can be a heartbreaking period for people who are homeless, and if they too decide that they cannot be seen to officially endorse this project it will not make a single bit of difference to our determination to chuck as much money as possible in their direction!

With only a couple of days to go until the clean tune and the naughty version (yay!) can be downloaded and streamed through every digital outlet imaginable, now is the time to SHARE SHARE SHARE! You can also like the official Facebook page for the song here.

Remember, at the end of the day (cliché excused in these circumstances) no charity in their right mind will turn down a sum of money that has been raised legitimately. If they cannot officially endorse a project, it doesn’t mean that they are ungrateful, it just means that they have to be super-careful in an era when too many other noble causes have been undone in a sea of bureaucracy and legal issues.