How a home-schooling lesson helped create a piece of national treasure and raise money for NHS Charities Together

Vaughtons, a Jewellery Quarter based badges manufacturer, is raising thousands of pounds for NHS Charities Together by selling their NHS Thank you pin.

Nick Hobbis - Thank You NHS Pin Badge - Vaughtons
Nick Hobbis, Managing Director of Vaughtons, holding the Thank You NHS Pin Badge

Vaughtons’ history dates back to as early as 1819, when the company was founded by Phillip Vaughton. Through the work of Phillip’s Grandson – ex-Aston Villa player, Howard Vaughton – the Jewellery Quarter based company began to make its name through the manufacture of sporting medals and became the sole maker of the Football League’s medals for 130 years. Vaughtons were also once commissioned to produce a new FA Cup after the original one was stolen from a shop front in nearby Aston.

Their glittering portfolio also includes making the glass door plaques for the Titanic, supplying both Rugby Six Nations and t20 medals – and also being the creator for the iconic Aston Martin badges.

However, their latest creation began much closer to home, but is arguably one of the most important items the company has ever made in their 200 year history.

The NHS Thank You Pin

When coronavirus hit, like the majority of UK businesses, Vaughtons was forced to close. The factory, now situated on Well Street in Birminghams Jewellery Quarter, had to completely shut down its operations – the first time in 200 years. However, Nick Hobbis, Managing Director of Vaughtons, was adamant that he wanted to get his workforce working again – and a bit of inspiration from his children provided that opportunity.

Like most parents, with the closure of schools due to the lockdown restrictions, Nick had to quickly adapt to home-schooling and take on the new role of ‘teacher’ for his 8 and 9 year old children. On one home-schooling day, Nick asked his children what they’d like to do as part of ‘Creative time’.

“The first thing they said to me was Dad, can we design an NHS badge to wear and then you can make it? It sounded a lovely idea so the next day I took their designs into work and showed them to our in-house designer. There were a few manipulations that we needed to make, but after looking at the design, we thought it would be nice to make a few to show them, so we went ahead, produced a couple and bought them home, and since then we have produced thousands”.

Thank You NHS Pin Badge - Vaughtons
Jewellery Quarter based Vaughtons has now made thousands of the Thank You NHS Pin Badge

Generosity and kindness advances the pin

The rapid success of the NHS pin started with Nick’s children, but flourished due to the generosity and kindness of friends, family and strangers.

After producing a small batch in the factory, Nick started to sell the pins for £9.99, with all profits being donated to NHS Charities Together. Through spreading the word through Nick’s client and supplier base, he was soon receiving calls from multiple people wanting to help the cause. From one conversation to another, nationally, the pin was beginning to make grounds. “I took phone calls from people who were furloughed but wanted to offer their PR and marketing expertise voluntarily to me. These people were genuinely so passionate for what I was trying to achieve and it’s these acts of kindness that opened so many doors for the pin”.

So far, there have many A-list celebrities that have been wearing the Jewellery Quarter-made badge, including the likes of Ben Shepherd, Andi Peters, Vicky McClure, and of course the well-known This Morning duo, Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield.

Appearing on This Morning

Through the sheer generosity of Nick’s new found contacts, Nick and his children appeared on the UK’s favourite daytime TV show, This Morning. With isolation hair cuts to the children and Nick himself — and with the laptop fired up ready to be interviewed over Skype – Nick went live to the nation as he shared the story of the family-inspired NHS pin.

“Appearing on This Morning and hearing Holly Willoughby saying my name was a very surreal moment!”.

“It was nerve-racking at first. They called just 5 minutes before to test the connection, and then seconds later, Holly and Phil were on the screen introducing us. The interview itself went very smoothly — and thankfully no technical difficulties! What was lovely was that they asked the kids questions. They were so chuffed and full of beans for days afterwards!”

Thank You NHS Pin Badge - Vaughtons - This Morning
Nick Hobbis and his two children appearing on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield

A 21st century poppy

Nick hopes that the NHS Thank You Pin will become the symbol for how Britons show support to the NHS, almost becoming a 21st century poppy. Every penny of the profits that are made from the selling of the pin are donated to NHS Charities Together.

“We have already sold thousands of badges since we launched it 4 weeks ago. Our first milestone is to reach 100,000, but we would love to reach a million. With each badge selling for £9.99, we are hopeful that we can continue to raise funds for the incredible work the NHS does.

We are so grateful for everybody that has helped us so far, but it’s important that people continue to support the NHS – and one way they can do that is through purchasing our NHS Thank You Pin and then wearing it with pride”.

To purchase the pin badge and learn more about Vaughtons, visit: vaughtons.com

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