Our work in the community

“As a company, it is a privilege to be able to put a little back into the community we earn our livelihoods from. Although what we give and do in itself will not change the world, I am a firm believer that if everybody does a little bit, the impact can be very big indeed.”

Philip Miller MBE, Executive Chairman of Stockvale Ltd

We’re committed to supporting all kinds of fantastic charities in our local area.

The Stockvale group of companies – which includes Adventure Island, Sealife Adventure and Radio Essex amongst others – is pleased to have supported many different charities, organisations and events over the years.

Our dedication to giving something back has taken us all over Essex and beyond – and while our efforts have led us to too many good causes to mention, we’ve listed some of our recent projects and collaborations here to give you a taste of the fantastic work we’re doing in the local community.

Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation

One of our most notable projects has been in conjunction with Southend University Hospital, and in particular, the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation.

The foundation is a registered charity which raises money for major fundraising projects at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It was established in 1998 by a group of local people, one of whom is the Executive Chairman of Stockvale Ltd Philip Miller MBE, who wanted to help finance buildings and equipment not provided by NHS funding. (Philip was awarded the MBE in 2002 for his charitable work and services to the community.)
Since then, the collective has raised over £4.5million to put towards various different areas of the Hospital, including:

  • £700,000 to Healing Hearts, which was put towards a state-of-the-art heart monitoring system
  • £400,000 to the Pinpoint Cancer Appeal, which was put towards image-guided radiotherapy equipment
  • £750,000 to the Strokebusters Appeal, which was put toward a gold-standard stroke unit
  • £750,000 to Bosom Pals Appeal, which was used to buy two full field digital mammography machines
  • Philip has also continually supported the charity with other regular donations that have been put towards smaller projects around the hospital. A recent example of this is a £3,500 donation to the Ladybird Nursery, which was used to install a sturdy and permanent sun canopy in their Over 2s garden to provide shade in the heat of summer.

In 2018, Philip faced his fear of heights to complete a charity abseil that raised further funds for the hospital, as the extract below explains:
Each year, the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation organises a sponsored Walk for Wards, which encourages hundreds of local people come together to raise money by being sponsored to walk the 7km along the seafront between Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Shoeburyness and Chalkwell Shelter. Adventure Island and Radio Essex, both of whom are part of the Stockvale family, have been proud sponsors of this event for multiple years.

In 2018, with the help of the Stockvale Group, including Sealife Adventure, approximately 250 people attended the event and raised around £15,000 in sponsorship money, which was put forward to benefit 30 different areas of the hospital.

Their current and most recent appeal is the For Wards Appeal. To mark the 20th anniversary of the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation, the For Wards Appeal aims to raise £500,000 for 20 transformational projects across 20 different areas of Southend Hospital, including the neonatal unit, the chemotherapy unit and surgery. They have already funded brand new equipment in the high dependency unit, as well as wheelchairs for the emergency department. If you wish to support this appeal, or would like to know more, click here!

Sealife Adventure supported the For Wards Appeal throughout their Christmas Grotto in 2017 by placing donation buckets and pots throughout the aquarium for customers’ loose change. With this simple act, they managed to raise £730.78!

We have also recently donated £1,000 for a one-off fundraising event: Dean Ovel’s 100 mile Rickshaw Challenge, which raised over £5,700 for both the Dementia Appeal and the For Wards Appeal.

London Taxi Drivers’ Fund: Kid’s Day Out

Founded in 1928, this charity is well known for its outings to the seaside, during which convoys of London taxis decked in balloons and banners take excited special needs children and their helpers for a fun day out.

Although the London Taxi Drivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children is best known for these kinds of trips, the charity does a lot more great work throughout the year.

As well as charitable donations for raffles and events, Adventure Island has supported The London Taxi Drivers’ Fund by providing them with complimentary days out every summer for more than 40 years. This initiative was started by Philip’s father, David, and has continued to be a highlight of our year throughout the generations.

HARP Southend’s Homeless Charity

On average, HARP helps over 1,000 people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness every year by providing support and helping vulnerable people develop valuable life skills and move forward with confidence and independence.

The challenges that homeless people experience are complex and ever-changing, so the HARP pathway is different for everyone and is tailored to each person’s needs.

Not only have we supported HARP by providing the charity with regular donations (including a £1,000 donation in 2019), staff from Stockvale also took part in a sleep-out where they slept outdoors overnight to experience the struggles of homelessness whilst raising over £1,000 for the cause.

Rotary Club: A Kid’s Day Out

Rotary Club is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad.

Their members believe that they have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. Their 35,000+ clubs work together to promote peace, support education, and grow local economies, as well as much more!

Here at Adventure Island, we have supported the Rotary Club every year since its creation by providing the organisation with multiple donations and by giving the local branches free days out for their members through their Kid’s Day Out scheme. In 2017 alone, over 600 children from 9 different clubs visited us and other Southend-based destinations!

National Coastwatch Institution

The watchkeepers at the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) provide important eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility.
They are trained to deal with emergencies to extremely high standards. Currently, 56 NCI stations are in operation and manned by over 2,500 volunteers who are keeping watch around the British Isles, from Rossall Point in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

To return the support that the NCI have continually given to everyone in the Southend community, Adventure Island donated £5,000 in 2019, and will continue to support the Institution where possible in the future.

Variety Club: A Kid’s Day Out

All over the UK, there are children who have to cope with sickness, disability or disadvantage. It’s tough. Really tough. The Variety Club provides practical, tangible help that makes an immediate difference to these kids and their families.

For a disadvantaged child, a day at the seaside becomes a cherished childhood memory. Each year, the Variety Club takes tens of thousands of children on unforgettable adventures to various UK destinations through their Great Days Out Programme.

Adventure Island has supported the Variety Club for over 10 years by providing charitable donations for events and raffles and supporting the Variety Great Days Out scheme with free annual visits.

Mind: For Better Mental Health

Mind believes no-one should have to face a mental health problem alone. The charity aims to empower anybody experiencing poor mental health by not only providing expert support and advice, but also by improving services, raising awareness and promoting a better understanding of mental health issues.

We have supported Mind for a number of years by providing them with multiple regular donations, both in the form of money to directly help with fundraising and through donations to help with raffles and events.

And that’s not all…

The above organisations are just a small handful of the hundreds of charities and causes we’ve helped over the years.

Other notable recent donations include:

We are proud to announce that over the last 15 years, we have donated one over £1.25million worth of free rides, and over £300,000 of much needed cash to deserving local causes.

Fundraising Partnership

We also run a fundraising partnership that enables us to work with multiple organisations all over London, Essex and the South East to help them reach and exceed their fundraising goals. More information on this scheme can be found here.

As proof that this scheme can really transform the funding aspirations of worthy organisations, Ashingdon Football Club (one of our oldest partners) recently wrote to us thanking us for the continued support and to inform us that they have raised over £50,000 in the last 15 years of working with us!

Any charity or foundation that raises funds for a good cause – whether it’s cash that they put back into their own work, use to support another charity, or redistribute to better their community – is welcome to join the partnership that has transformed the fundraising efforts of multiple organisations since its inception.

Radio Essex Charity Update

As part of the Stockvale family, Radio Essex regularly broadcasts a special community feature called the Essex Charity Update. This is essentially a free 40 second advert for charities and local appeals. They actively seek information from the numerous groups, small and large, across Essex. Radio Essex use the information to write a script, get it produced and then send the organisation a copy of the audio for their records. They also let each charity know when their ad will air, and for how long.

Just a selection of previous examples include appeals for: coats for dogs in winter, Age Concern befriending, Families in Focus, Essex Air Ambulance, Havens Hospices and even the opening of a new jazz centre run by volunteers.

The Essex-wide voluntary group, Volunteer Essex, is also involved in the Essex Charity Update. They advise their member groups and associations of the feature and either forward the information to us on their behalf or get those groups to contact us directly.

Radio Essex Charity Update

We are also the founders and funders of the Citizen of Southend Awards, which each year honours and rewards people from the Southend Borough for their community work.

Whether they’ve performed a selfless act, achieved recognition in a particular area or just helped out a neighbour, this scheme is dedicated to all the unsung heroes who deserve to be rewarded for their positive contributions to our society. Anybody can be nominated for the Award, as long as they live, work and or contribute to the community in the Southend borough.

For more information on the Citizen of Southend Awards, click here.

Notable events

£40,000 for 40 charities for 40 years

Back in 2016, we celebrated our 40th birthday by giving 40 local charities a chance to win a share of £40,000.

Between June and October in 2016, anyone who purchased a wristband was given a token to vote for their favourite nominated charity. At the end of each month, the tokens were counted and those charities with the most votes got the biggest slice of the funds for that month. It was then reset with new charities on the 1st of the month, allowing the whole cycle to begin again!

Around the world in 80 days

In 2014, we hosted the Keyhole Cancer Appeal for multiple days as they attempted to cycle around the world in just 80 days.

The then-new south-Essex based charity appeal was putting pedals to the metal to help raise £600,000 for a new state-of-the-art keyhole theatre at Southend Hospital, which would improve the quality and quantity of a wide variety of the surgery performed onsite. Five bikes, which were provided and maintained by Cycles UK, were used as part of this challenge. Participants were given a target of sixty miles per bike, per day to reach the target of 24,901.55 miles.

Naked rollercoaster

In 2010, Adventure Island broke the world record for the “most amount of naked riders on a theme park ride“! On 8th August 2010, 102 people were brave enough to bare all and ride the Green Scream whilst raising money for charity. Green Scream can only take 40 people per ride, but that would still have been enough to break the previous record of 32 naked roller coaster riders, held by Nemesis at Alton Towers. Best of all, we managed raise approximately £30,000 in the process!

5 years later, we gave it another shot to raise more money, this time for the Keyhole Cancer Appeal at Southend University Hospital. We didn’t manage to break our own record this time, but we did manage to raise £20,000 for them – £10,000 through event sponsorship, and £10,000 donated directly from Stockvale.

Sealife Adventure initiatives

Christmas Grotto fundraising scheme

Sealife Adventure holds a Christmas Grotto each year, during which guests can come and see Santa free of charge!

For the last couple of years, the aquarium has displayed charity donation pots and buckets throughout the publically accessible areas of the aquarium to raise funds for a designated charity.

In 2016, they raised £527.64 for Fair Havens Hospice through donations. Fair Havens Hospice provide specialist care for adults from the age of 19 with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease and others. More information on Fair Havens Hospice can be found by clicking here.

In 2017, they raised £730.78 for Southend Hospital’s For Wards Appeal.

They also organise continuous collections for the Marine Conservation Society throughout the year. More information on the MCS can be found by clicking here.

Beach cleans and conservation projects

Sealife Adventure holds regular beach cleans on Southend on Sea’s beaches in association with the MCS Great British Beach Clean, the most recent of which was in September 2017, where almost 7,000 people took part throughout the county and removed 255,209 pieces of litter from 339 beaches – one of which was Southend beach, which is just down the road from the venue.

Sealife Adventure participated in the No Limits? Shark Conservation events in 2016 and 2017 to raise awareness of the increasing endangerment of sharks. The “No campaign was launched in 2014 to respond to the crisis posed by unlimited and escalating shark fishing. More information on this can be found by clicking here.