What is Red Nose Day?

  • Published
  • By Natalie Benge
  • Community Relations Adviser

Red Nose Day is a fund-raising event held every two years organised by the charity Comic Relief. Since it began in 1988, Comic Relief has raised over £425 Million. Of this massive amount £355 Million has been raised through Red Nose Day, celebrated on March 16.

Comic Relief was launched from a refugee camp in Sudan in response to the famine in Ethiopia. In addition to doing something about the emergency, the charity was determined to help tackle the broader needs of poor and disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa.

It began with a few live events, drawing support from many famous comedians. The first Red Nose Day in 1988 was presented on television by Lenny Henry, Griff Rhys Jones and Jonathon Ross, and raised more than £15 million.
This year the theme is 'The Big One,' and the organisers are hoping to make it bigger and better than ever before.

What's going on?

There will be loads of events going on to celebrate and raise money for Red Nose Day this year, and you may see local school children or organisations raising money for the cause. These people are showing their support by wearing their Red Nose. The nose is made of red foam and is about the size of a tennis ball. You can get involved with minimum effort by sponsoring events or donating money March 1 by phone.

What happens to the money?

Comic Relief attracts enormous support from public and commercial organisations. Every £1 raised by the public is used entirely for charitable work. Every project supported by Comic Relief helps poor and disadvantaged people in Britain, Africa and some of the poorest regions in the world make positive changes in their communities.

Over the years, Comic Relief in Africa has educated people about AIDS, taught women to read, provided immunisations for children and assisted in rebuilding communities after conflicts.

In the UK it has helped disabled people challenge prejudice and discrimination, supported older people in their fight to get their rights recognized and provided escape routes for women and men living with domestic violence.

Past projects have included the Wish Centre in Harrow, which was set up to provide young people with a place to go to help with social issues like self harming. Another good cause that received support is the St. Matthews Children's Fund in Ethiopia, which helps rehabilitate families and provides support to orphaned children.

Red Nose Day Facts

--Out of all the money raised from Red Nose Day, 60 percent is spent in Africa and 40 percent is spent in the UK. 

--Red Nose Day funds have helped support approximately 6,000 projects in the UK from Landsend to Lossiemouth. 

--More than 1,500 projects across 40 African countries have received funding with cash raised through Red Nose Day. This cash is making a huge difference to people and communities across the continent. 

--Just £50 can pay the school fees for two children living in extreme poverty in Ethiopia for a whole year. An education gives them the chance to escape the poverty they face and look forward to a brighter future. 

What makes it special?

This appeal really gets people's creative talents flowing and brings people together to raise money for good causes. In the past, people have come up with some great ideas from sponsored silences, suitable for those of you with chatterbox teens, egg and jelly pie eating contests, hop-to-work-in-your-slipper relays, car washes, barking competitions and bake-the-most-inventive-pie contest, to name just a few. In Cardiff, members of staff from the chamber of commerce staff attempted to cram as many people as possible into a new compact car. They managed 15, including three in the boot, described the event as madcap...but it made everyone feel good and is the overall aim of this appeal.

How can you get involved?

If you see strange things happening around you on March 16, get ready with your money - even a few pence can make a difference. There will be a program of live television and Radio events happening during the day on the British Broadcasting Corporation and one event will be Celebrity Fame Academy, which helps raise money from votes for who you want to win. The money from the votes goes directly to the appeal so the more you vote for your favourite, the more money will be raised. On a local level you may find your local pub or school have fund raising events, which are bound to be great fun. 

Visit the Comic Relief Web site for ideas to raise money by organising your own events at www.rednoseday.com