Empowering Change: Inside our Collaboration with Comic Relief

How do you build a different world? A better future? We think it starts by working together to explore the possibilities. One way to do that is to light a fire in the imagination of young minds. So that’s what we did. With a big helping hand from our friends at Comic Relief. This is the story of what happens when people with a common cause work together to empower curious minds.


David Pallash is our Director of Learning through Play in the Social Responsibility team. He began the collaboration with Comic Relief via our social impact program, Build the Change, which empowers children to create solutions to real-world challenges. This partnership enabled children to experience the power of play while designing a brighter tomorrow:


"Play is all about working together and having fun. It’s such a crucial part of how we learn and it's at the heart of Build the Change. We've seen firsthand how engaging curious young minds in sustainability issues through play can enhance children's learning and have a lasting impact as it ignites their creative confidence and compassion for the world around them. And our collaboration with the brilliant and playful Comic Relief teams has been no exception. Together, we're inspiring children to build a better world as they have fun and gain 21st-century skills in the process."

These sentiments resonate strongly with Mary Catherine Burdine-Hurrion. As Director for Partnership Development, for Comic Relief in the US, she was closely involved with David and his team on the Community Builders Challenge, which sees children reimagine and build “dream communities” that promote empathy and kindness for others:

Mary Cath

“There is so much synergy in our values and mission. Our organization is rooted in the belief that you’re never too young to make a difference and that true philanthropy extends far beyond financial contributions to drive social change. Both Build the Change and Comic Relief believe that, through everyday actions and collective moments of joy, we can find solutions to the world's most pressing problems.”

Having set up and managed the partnerships, both here in the UK and the US, we ask David to tell us how things have changed:


“Well, for one thing, this year we had the UK partnership looking at environmental challenges and the US partnership looking at a social challenge: two very different approaches. What they have in common is that children provide the ideas to create a better world. It helps them to realise that their ideas matter and need to be heard. It’s helpful for educators too. It gives them a fun way to talk about these topics - rather than avoiding them."

It was Social Responsibility Consultant, Filipe Gaspar's second- time involvement on the project, and he noticed another difference from previous years.

“First time around, I mostly supported and learned from David. This year, I was more active in project management with David dipping in and out to support. It’s been a useful opportunity to grow."


“When you’re developing kids resources, you’re always thinking about how to make language and experience as simple and accessible as possible. To be able to convey complex concepts meaningfully, in a jargon-free, child-friendly way, is an awesome challenge. It’s been amazing to explore. Try it – I promise you that you’ll end up understanding the subject better than you ever did before.”

The whole collaboration has been enormously successful - and children aren’t the only ones who’ve learned something, as Mary Catherine is keen to point out:

“We learned so much from this project. Students have shown us a whole new level of wonder in how kids can imagine a better world. They’ve brought their kindness and consideration to life in so many different ways. Whether it was a music studio, a friendship park, or a community hospital, all the ideas so far have been amazing. They’ve reinforced our belief that you’re never too young to make a difference. It’s what children’s dreams can do - when they have a creative place to apply them."

This is something that resonates with Tilly: a Partnership Executive at Comic Relief UK:


“I'm really proud of our partnership's focus on engaging the next generation of change-makers. As an ex-teacher, I'm always blown away by the ideas young people come up with when given the tools and the space to be creative. It's been so exciting to work with the LEGO Group on giving kids the chance to use their creativity."

“We've been lucky enough to work with presenter and YouTuber, Maddie Moate, on this year's competition too. Seeing Maddie and David get their hands on some LEGO bricks (and some Red Noses!) was a great reminder of how much Comic Relief and the LEGO Group have in common - combining fun, collaboration and creativity with real-world impact.”

For David, this project has been about giving children a voice. For Filipe, it’s been a means to make the world more fun and inclusive:


Play is everyone’s superpower - including ourselves. It comes out as we build and craft Build the Change sessions and activities for children and when we run creative workshops where only whacky ideas are allowed. It’s how we encourage each of us to bring our whole selves to work.”

So how has it been to work with an iconic charity on both sides of the Atlantic? The final words we we’ll leave to David:

“They are both wonderful teams – always up for a giggle yet serious when we need to be. They get it. They understand our mission and we understand theirs.”

Who knew work could be such fun.


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