BT Contact Centre in Enniskillen is set to stand up to cancer

October 15th 2014

Dozens of BT workers from all over Northern Ireland will travel to the Call Centre in Enniskillen to volunteer their time to answer calls to support Cancer Research UK and Channel 4’s telethon Stand Up To Cancer this Friday (October 17).

The Enniskillen Contact Centre at Broadmeadow Place is one of four BT sites around the UK – and the only one in Northern Ireland – which will handle thousands of incoming calls from people making donations during the epic live TV event hosted by Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Dr Christian Jessen.

The trio will front a star studded night of television, supported by stars from film, TV, music and fashion including Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Gillian Anderson, Idris Elba, Anna Friel and Sharon Osbourne.

More than 85 BT volunteers will man the pledge lines from 7:00pm, with lines staying open until the television show ends at 12.30am.

They’ll be joined by volunteers from local colleges who have been helping organise this massive event.  

BT team manager Anita Maguire, a veteran of other BT- supported telethons, including Sport Relief, took on the huge logistical challenge of co-ordinating the effort as she is very aware of the need for a cure for this disease.  She says: “Unfortunately there are very few people that I know that have not been affected in some way by cancer, be it themselves, a close family member or friend.  We need to find a cure for this disease as too many people are suffering on a daily basis.   

“Our advisers in Enniskillen have a long history of supporting telethons by using their call handling skills. We’re proud that our teams will once again be playing a central role in a major televised fundraiser and that so many of our staff are prepared to give up their time for such a valuable cause. We hope everyone will help to keep them busy on the night by calling in and making a donation.”

While the volunteers get down to the serious business of answering as many calls and taking as many donations as possible, they have also organised a host of fun activities to raise funds during the night.

Around 400 BT volunteers are taking part in the telethon from the participating contact centres in Enniskillen, Dundee and Canterbury and BT Tower in London.

While volunteers complete some straightforward training, many of the Enniskillen advisers have had plenty of practice ahead of the big night.  Enniskillen centre has been in operation for the past 21 years and currently deals with digital contacts from customers such as live chats, social media and emails. Enniskillen is also home to MyDonate, BT’s online fundraising platform which unlike other platforms, is provided free of charge to all UK charities, helping them to maximise their fundraising capabilities.    

Stand Up To Cancer was co-founded in the USA by film and media leaders and the Entertainment Industry Foundation in 2008 with an aim to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.

Since then three biennial television fundraisers have aired across major US broadcast and cable networks, generating more than $260 million in pledges to support teams of cancer researchers collaborating to bring more effective treatments to the bedside faster.

Jean Walsh, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman in Northern Ireland, said:  “We’d like to thank all the dedicated BT workers and to thank the people of Enniskillen for their support and their determination to Stand Up To Cancer. 
“Every hour someone in Northern Ireland is diagnosed with cancer.  Thanks to the incredible progress that’s been made in the last 40 years, more people are surviving than ever before. 

“But we can’t afford to stand still.  We have the technology and the knowledge to conquer cancer; we just need the funds to turn it into real-life treatments. Stand Up To Cancer raises money for translational research – which is often described as ‘bench to bedside’ because it takes treatments from the lab bench and develops them to help patients being treated in hospital.”