National Friendly, the Bristol-based insurer, has stepped in to support Ablaze with a new fundraising campaign. Under the initiative, the insurer will contribute funds to Ablaze. It will also use its influence to urge local businesses to contribute to the charity, to help them make good significant revenue shortfalls resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

National Friendly has been a long term partner of Ablaze. In particular, working closely together on Ablaze’s Reading Buddy programme at Cabot Primary School in Bristol, designed to ensure all children leaving primary school are functionally literate.

Ablaze is charity which exists to tackle inequality of opportunity for young people in Bristol and throughout the West of England. With the current restrictions in place, we cannot operate its primary Reading Buddy programme, by going into schools as normal. Consequently, vulnerable primary school children from disadvantaged backgrounds are more at risk of being left behind in literary and reading skills than ever.

Sally Melvin, CEO at Ablaze said, “Due to Covid-19, the Ablaze Reading Buddy programme is unable to operate as normal. National Friendly is supporting Ablaze Bristol through our own local fundraising, but alone this will not be enough. We need to encourage local businesses, the corporate sector and corporate donors to step forward during this vital time, as well as encourage the general public and all parents to donate to this worthy cause.”

Kurtis Reece, National Friendly’s PR and corporate partnerships executive points out that the education of pupils in primary schools is now under serious pressure, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Poverty of opportunity will be more extreme post Covid-19 and mentoring will be vital in tackling this, which is why we are supporting Ablaze with its intervention to create an ever lasting impact on children’s development.” Kurtis Reece, PR and Corporate Partnerships Executive, National Friendly

In partnership with the schools that we supports, Ablaze and National Friendly are working hard to develop new ways of delivering learning and support to both teachers and parents using both online and digital solutions.

In particular, Ablaze sees a range of opportunities for the vibrant Bristol digital sector to lead through innovation and propose new solutions to address these critical issues.

“We believe that there is an opportunity to tap into and engage with the creative and digital sectors in Bristol, to make connections and to develop a network of businesses that could support the development of our resources and programmes in schools. We believe the digital sector in Bristol could emerge to become future partners for Ablaze, something that could also help their own business models to diversify, as they innovate and spearhead new ways of learning and supporting primary education.” Sally Melvin, Ablaze CEO

Kurtis Reece adds “The pandemic has presented all charities, including Ablaze with a number of critical issues, not the least of which concerns financing. With normal fundraising activities suspended, the flow of funds into the charitable sector has been hit hard. In particular, in the case of Ablaze and its work in schools. Our aim is to find a safe and effective way to deliver its reading programmes in schools remotely. For the time being, volunteers can no longer carry out this vital activity face to face.

Ablaze receives no statutory or government funding to support their core budget. They solely rely upon the support from schools, businesses and donations.”

For more information, please visit we are encouraging businesses to #RaiseForAblaze.

Your donation can help us provide programmes in schools to tackle inequality of opportunity for young people.