Sweet taste of success for charity fundraising company

Charities across the country have benefited from the enterprise and kindness of a Black Country sweet company.

Bob Strong and son Stuart demonstrate some of the wares on offer at Sweet Causes
Bob Strong and son Stuart demonstrate some of the wares on offer at Sweet Causes

Sweet Causes has raised and donated more than £1million for charities such as Mencap, Teenage Cancer Trust and The Children’s Air Ambulance through a practice of selling top quality sweets and snacks.

Located in a small industrial estate outside Aldridge, Sweet Causes has spent the last 20 years distributing brand tuck shop boxes to businesses for staff and customers to enjoy, with each item costing £1.

The boxes include a range of items such as chocolate, fizzy and gummy sweets, toffees, flapjacks, liquorice, biscuits, cakes and savoury snacks, with 50 percent of the money raised from each box going to charity.

Sweet Causes was founded by Bob Strong in 2001 after he left his position on the board of directors at Virgin Media and invested £60,000 into the launch of the charity.

He said: “When we started this business nearly 20 years ago, our slogan was half our profits are donated to charity, so we retained half and the charities go the other half.

Anna Szymczyk checks on the sweets as they are packaged

“About 10 years ago, I acquired a confectionary manufacturing company called Hummingbird Confectionary and from the profits we were making, I decided to make Sweet Causes a not-for-profit side of the business.

“We were able to promote the Charity Sweets brand that we have and although we compete against other companies, we have a good marketing message because of where the money goes to.”

Bob said there had been challenges for the charity during lockdown as a lot of the organisations who bought boxes from it were closed or functioning at reduced capacity.

He also said another issue was having to dispose of a lot of the baked goods due to having been in storage well past their best-before-dates.

However, despite the issues caused by lockdown, Bob said the charity was still working hard to provide boxes for more than 30,000 customers across the country.

Bob also said the work done by Sweet Causes has been noticed by a number of high-level public figures.

Boxes and boxes of sweets destined for charities around the country

He said: “Just before lockdown, we received a visit from Andy Street as the Mayor came down to take a site visit and tour the factory, which was a nice moment.

“The pinnacle, however, was being invited to an afternoon soiree for the 80th anniversary of Mencap by the patron, Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

“My wife Sue and I got to go to Buckingham Palace and they thanked us for all the money we’d raised for them, so that was a great occasion.”

The recognition Sweet Causes has got from customers and royalty is a source of pride for Bob, who said it was a fantastic achievement for such a small company in Aldridge.

He said: “It gives us a lot of pride as a business and the people who work for us and with us are so proud as well.

“We are probably the best kept secret and we’ll keep as busy as we can with pushing the business forward. My son Stuart is coming into the business and bringing lots of ideas around social media, so we are have a larger profile and more people can access our products through that.”

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