Banknote auction raises £237,040 for charity

The auction was held by Spink on 15 July with our Chief Cashier, Sarah John, opening the bidding on the first lot. 

The auction raised £237,040 for three charities – akt, Childline (a service provided by NSPCC) and Shelter. A total of 150 lots were auctioned, and the highest bid for a single note was £13,000 – the Turing £50 with serial number AA01 000005. This was also the highest amount bid in the auction, followed by £10,000 bid for a full uncut sheet of 40 £50 notes.

Sarah John, Chief Cashier, said: “I am delighted that the auction of Turing £50 notes raised over £237,000 for three fantastic charities. The Bank has a long history of charitable giving and that feels even more important in these unprecedented and challenging times which continue for the charitable sector.”

Our charity and community programme is a key part of our inclusion agenda and we encourage colleagues to support the causes that they care about. akt was nominated by a member of Notes Directorate staff in conjunction with our LGBT+ staff network. Childline and Shelter are the Bank’s 2020/21 charities.

We are proud that our £50 note features Alan Turing and that the three charities to benefit from the £50 auction will support the LGBTQ+ community in different ways. The money raised will be used by the charities through the services they provide across the UK. akt directly supports youth homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community. Childline (provided by NSPCC) helps children through whatever issue they are concerned about, which includes gender identity and sexuality. Shelter has released research showing that 40% of gay or lesbian people, and 49% of bisexual people are impacted by the housing emergency in Britain, compared with 32% of heterosexual people. 

akt is the national lgbtq+ youth homelessness charity, providing safe homes and better futures for lgbtq+ young people. Almost one quarter of all young people facing or experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+, and 77 per cent of those cite rejection or abuse from their families as what has led them to being so. The charity was set up in Manchester in 1989 by straight ally and former foster carer Cath Hall, and a group of founding members, and has since opened its doors in London, Newcastle and Bristol. In 30 years, akt has provided over 250,000 nights off the street and supported over 50,000 lgbtq+ young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Carrie Reiners, Deputy Chief Executive of akt, said: “We are delighted to be one of the charities linked to this unique and historic event with the Bank of England to the launch of the new £50 note. Last year akt saw a 71% increase in footfall into our service from young LGBTQ+ young people facing homelessness and abuse from unsupportive homes.

“As the country emerges from lockdown, akt continues to provide safe accommodation and support to even greater numbers of 16–25-year-olds across the UK from the LGBTQ+ community.

“We provide safe emergency accommodation for a young person following a period of homelessness or abuse at home simply for being who they are.  Along with a safe place to stay, our emergency support packs provide top-up credit for mobile phones, food and incidentals until a longer-term solution can be found. Young people will also work one-to-to one with a dedicated member of our services team to build the resilience and skills needed to create a sustainable path to independence.”

The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) is a leading children’s charity working hard to prevent child abuse across the UK and Channel Islands. They do this by providing expert support to children and young people via their Childline counselling service, adult helpline, direct services and in collaboration with schools and local campaigns.

The NSPCC’s Childline counselling service provides a safe, confidential place for children and young people, whatever their worry, whenever they need help. They can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Childline’s dedicated volunteers delivered more than 200,000 counselling sessions with children and young people in 2020/21, including more than 70,000 on mental health. Childline has also delivered over 125,000 counselling session on gender identity and sexuality since records began.

The service has never been more important as a source of support, with thousands of young people turning to the service over the past year about a range of issues including mental health, abuse, and gender and sexuality.

Childline also has a huge online community where children can get support from their peers on message-boards and use expert resources to help them through any issue they are concerned about.

Shaun Friel, Childline Director said: “We’d like to thank the Bank of England for the amazing amount of money that has been raised for the NSPCC’s Childline service through their charity banknote auction.

“We know that for many young people, the pandemic left them feeling cut off from their usual support networks, so it is vital that Childline has been there to listen as they attempted to navigate the closure of schools, the introduction and easing of lockdowns, concerns about the COVID-19 and social isolation.

“The money raised from this auction will enable our trained volunteers to continue to be here for those children who may be struggling and feel like they have nowhere else to turn.”

Shelter works to support the more than 17 million people in Britain who are now impacted by the housing emergency, and homelessness, which has doubled in the last decade. Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. The charity believes that a safe home is a fundamental need, which is why their frontline services are there to provide expert help and advice to people 365 days a year. Through their campaigns Shelter works to provide lasting change to make sure that one day no-one has to turn to them for help. 

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the charity beneficiaries from this auction and it is a huge privilege for us to be one of the Bank’s charities of the year for 2020/21. With millions of people denied the right to a safe home we’re very grateful for the support of partners like the Bank of England to help us in the fight for home. The funds raised from this event will help us to provide advice, support and legal services to those who need it most, allowing us to be there for people and families when they have nowhere else to turn. Thank you for your support.”

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