Apprentice style challenge for a great local cause

Insuring a White Christmas, with their hand made gifts
Insuring a White Christmas, with their hand made gifts

Young professionals from a Lancaster insurance firm will do battle in an Apprentice style “task” in the city to raise money for St John’s Hospice.

Two teams of six members of staff from Allianz Lancaster, based in Caton Road, will go head to head in St Nicholas Arcade on December 5 - attempting to sell as many of their chosen products as possible throughout the day.

Allianz will double the money raised, and although one team will emerge victorious, both want to sell as much as possible for a good cause.

Dan Ingamells, 24, a digital marketing executive at Allianz, said that part of the team’s strategy was to contact the local press to gain as much exposure as possible.

He said: “Our team is called Insuring a White Christmas”, but I’ll just refer to the other team as ‘the other team’.

“Last year as part of the challenge we were given a list of 20 items that the hospice needed - things like blankets, Ipads, a garden hose.

“The task was to go around Lancaster trying to get as much stuff as possible from businesses. This year there are six of us on each team with the MD Sam Watson as ‘Alan Sugar’. We’ve been assigned our mentors and ours is head of HR Marie Brown, she’s our Margaret.

“We were given a £60 budget and we can do anything we want to create a product or service to sell beforehand or on the day to raise as much money for St John’s as possible.

“Our idea was to create Christmas candles.

“We’ve got some made already, and our ultimate aim is to sell £300 worth of them.

“We’re also selling Elves on a Shelf, and packs of cards, and we’ve sold quite a lot already. We’ve been making the cards from scratch and have managed to get some candles from Ikea who gave us a 15 per cent discount.

“We’re using the money to reinvest. We want to win this and we would love people to come down and support us, even if people can’t buy anything, just a small donation would be appreciated as it’s for a great cause.”

Dan is joined by Sophie Quinn, 20, a migration officer from Halton, finance officer Pippa Kimberley, 24, from Lancaster, marketing analyst Shahan Begh, 26, from Carnforth, and insurance broker Chris Ferguson, 31, from Warrington.

The other team is made up of complaints officer Mitchell Hayden, 25, sales officer Rob Morrison, 26, customer service officer Rachel Taylor, 20, quality assessor Kerry Brakewell, business support officer Jenny Boland, 31, and customer service officer Ben Rasmussen, 34.

Staff at Allianz Lancaster have raised £22,000 for the hospice over the last six years, which the company has then doubled. Last year they raised over £9,600 and this year they’re aiming to raise over £10,000. The challenge also allows the 12 individuals to showcase their own skills in teamworking, selling, marketing, setting strategies, launching and promoting products, act as entrepreneurs for their own mini businesses.