Norwood chiefs have described the £2.7 million raised from its annual dinner on Monday as a huge success in the current economic climate.
The proceeds from the Grosvenor House event, attended by 1,200 supporters, will go towards the £9 million needed from voluntary income to complete the charity’s £35 million budget for children, family and adult services.
Norwood chairman Bernie Myers warned that the recession “has reduced our statutory and voluntary income causing us to renew our efforts to be even more financially prudent and cost effective”.
The charity would “not see the benefit of any financial growth for a few years. Conversely, the demands on Norwood from our community have grown substantially whilst our fundraising income has not.”
But it would not be reducing services: “Disabilities and hardship don’t come and go and this is not a cause to cut back on.”
Mr Myers launched Norwood’s new campaign slogan, Change a Life, reflecting the wide-ranging demands on the charity.
Patron of Norwood’s children’s services Cherie Blair said: “This charity has a special place in my heart. I’m particularly proud of the Change a Life campaign because that’s exactly what Norwood does.”
She also introduced the appeal film, featuring Borehamwood mother-of-four Erica Marks and her family, who have been helped by Norwood since her son Benjamin, now 17, was born with a severe disability.
Following the screening, Mrs Marks told diners: “Norwood has been a lifeline to our family since Benjamin was young.
“I wouldn’t be able to tell my story today if it hadn’t been for Norwood’s incredible support.”
After the dinner, Norwood president Richard Desmond said that raising £2.7 million had been “a real achievement. Every contribution is vital to Norwood so that we can continue to help change the lives of thousands of people.”