Blog by CEO Owen Sharp.

11 Feb 2015

With the launch of Men United: Keeping Friendships Alive, we’re talking a lot about friendship here at Prostate Cancer UK. Friends celebrate (and sometimes commiserate) major milestones – birthdays, marriages, new home etc – and this February one of our best friends is celebrating a whopper.

In 2009 Keyline Builders’ Merchants set out to raise £25,000 for what was then The Prostate Cancer Charity. Five years on, I am delighted to announce that Keyline have now raised over £1 million for Prostate Cancer UK. If you were to look up overachiever in the dictionary, you’d find a little white, blue and green Keyline logo.

This massive milestone is understandable when you see the passion of everyone who works at Keyline – and I really do mean everyone – to improve the state of men’s health. Let’s ignore that fundraising figure for a minute – all seven numbers – and take a look at what Keyline do to help raise awareness of prostate cancer. Every branch has one of our awareness posters and they play our adverts and display information on their in-store TVs. Every Keyline publication has one of our adverts and if you find yourself on hold, their call waiting system tells you about us too. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to go into a branch of Keyline and not come out having learnt something about prostate cancer. It’s like going into Ikea and not coming out with a bag of tealights – it just doesn’t happen.

Their HR department must be top notch too. All Keyline staff seem to be made up of a mix of the Avengers, the A-Team, and the Milk Tray man. They’re forever throwing themselves out of planes, scaling mountains, and biking great distances. Each employee signs up to raise £100 a year, and they always smash their target. I’ve worked with a lot of organisations in my time at Prostate Cancer UK, but the staff at Keyline are the ones always front and centre of my mind when it comes to embodying a naked and unabashed enthusiasm to try anything to raise money for our cause. It’s small wonder they were Highly Commended at the Business Charity Awards in 2012.

They’re not afraid to innovate too. Keyline have organised five long-distance car rallies, three of which myself and Director of Fundraising Mark Bishop have taken part in. All told, these brilliant rallies have raised £500,000.

Keyline just get it. They realise the importance of raising awareness among men, and know we share a common customer. It’s one of the reasons they’re donating 50p for each and every sign up to Men United, and why they have signed up to support Prostate Cancer UK for a further five years. I don’t know about you, but I love it when a plan comes together.

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