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When I set up my freelance business last year, I wanted to do my bit to support local causes. I knew that giving my time would be difficult given everything that’s involved in setting up and getting a business going, so I decided I’d give £1 for every new follower on Twitter, connection on LinkedIn or sign up to my monthly email.

The total has passed £700 and I’ve started to think about where the money goes ahead of my year-end at the beginning of April.

I’ve already agreed to give 50% to the Pendle Reading Challenge which promotes reading for children in the local area through a range of events and initiatives. Reading is so important, and I’m not just saying that because I’m married to a librarian. Not only is it a transferable skill for life, it’s how we learn new things and it’s also how we relax. In a world where kids probably aren’t allowed to play conkers or army anymore, I’m all for anything that makes school more fun and interesting.

But I could do with some help deciding where the rest goes. After consulting with Cassie and the dogs, we’ve narrowed it down to two local charities.

Pendleside Hospice. They help make what is such a shit time for everyone, a little less shit. I’ve seen it first-hand. It’s about more than just health care, words don’t really do it justice and it’s a cause we always look to support. I ran the Kielder Marathon last year and raised £500 through the generous donations of family and friends. And back in 2013, me and Cassie took donations from our wedding guests at a time when a luxury honeymoon was the last thing on our minds.

Pendle Dogs In Need. I’m a massive believer that dogs play a big part in people’s lives, whether it’s keeping someone active or keeping them company. I’d like to think our dogs are lucky, but others aren’t as fortunate. The way some dogs are treated really is disgusting and they deserve more. This volunteer-run charity do some great work rescuing and re-homing dogs in the Pendle area.

I’ll be doing a final tot up on Monday 18 March so please do spread the word. The more followers and sign ups between now and then, the more I’ll give. I’m capping it at 10% of pre-tax profits though, just in case it gets silly. You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn and I send out a monthly email.

What next?

Over the next 12 months I want to focus on giving more of my time to local causes. So if you’re doing good things in Pendle, get in touch and let me know how I can help. I draw the line at anything customer-facing though, I’d be terrible at that.

I’m also running the Great North Run in September as part of Marge’s Forty by Forty team. 40 of us are aiming to raise a combined £40,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. It’s a worthy cause.