BT helps Soccer Aid raise £4 million for UNICEF 2012 Telethon by handling and processing 22,900 donation line calls

Two teams of celebrities and football legends, captained by Robbie Williams and Michael Sheen, went head to head last night at Old Trafford in Manchester with Robbie Williams’ England team winning the Soccer Aid trophy to raise money for UNICEF 2012.

BT handled more than 22,900 calls from viewers across the country during the football game, which helped UNICEF raise a total of £4million so far, with more donations expected over the coming weeks. Lines are still open, to make a donation call 0330 123 1966, text £5 to 70442, or visit mydonate.bt.com/charities/unicef to help UNICEF save children’s lives across the world.

This is the second time that BT has supported UNICEF’s Soccer Aid and provided all the telephony and network management that makes the telethon possible. Soccer Aid is live on ITV1 and the telethon relies on BT’s infrastructure and people to deliver on the night. BT uses MyDonate, the online platform, which can handle up to 130 transactions per second to help BT volunteers at call centres throughout the UK, including the BT Tower in London, capture all the donations from viewers.

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor commented: “The BT volunteers at call centres across the UK have been doing a fantastic job of answering the donation calls and giving up their evening for such a good cause. Earlier this year I visited India and saw just how crucial UNICEF’s work is in saving the lives of newborn babies born dangerously underweight, often as a result of their mothers being malnourished during pregnancy. The money that is raised by Soccer Aid will help UNICEF to save these children’s lives, and the lives of many others. I’m proud to be supporting Soccer Aid for UNICEF.”

Beth Courtier, BT’s community investment programme manager, said: “BT is in a privileged position to assist charity telethons and we are proud to be using our skills and technology expertise to help raise as much as possible for UNICEF. Before last night, Soccer Aid has raised more than £7m for UNICEF to help children around the world offering support and help with health, education, water, HIV and AIDS and protection for vulnerable children. This is the second year that we have partnered up with UNICEF’s Soccer Aid to work alongside football legends and celebrities to raise millions of pounds and to change children’s lives for the better.”

BT also provides telephony support to a number of other charities, including its work for Comic Relief since 1985, Sport Relief since it started in 2002 and Children in Need since 1980. BT also helps the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation comprising 13 of the largest UK humanitarian aid agencies responding to major disasters worldwide.

Every two years teams of celebrities and football legends representing England and the rest of the world come together to play the Soccer Aid football match to raise money for UNICEF. Celebrities playing for England this year included Robbie Williams, Olly Murs, JLS, Jamie Rednapp, Mark Owen and John Bishop. The Rest of the World team, managed by Kenny Dalglish included Michael Sheen, Will Ferrell, Gerard Butler, Mike Myers, Ruud van Nistelrroy, Roy Keane and Hernan Crespo.

The money raised through profits from ticket sales and donations made by viewers during the football match, will go to UNICEF’s invaluable work helping children around the world. Children living in East and West Africa will be among those who benefit from the money raised this year - this area is currently in the grip of a terrible food crisis. Every donation will be matched pound for pound by the UK Government. This was the fourth Soccer Aid event with the previous matches, held at Wembley in 2008 and at Old Trafford in 2006 and 2010, raising £7.5 million in total for UNICEF’s work.

BT (www.btplc.com) is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

BT is the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. BT is also a sustainability partner of the Games and a Premier Partner of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

In the year ended 31 March 2012, BT Group’s revenue was £18,897m with profit before taxation of £2,445m.

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Soccer Aid is a celebrity football match and television programme which will be shown in the UK on ITV 1 on Sunday 27th May. This year’s event will be hosted by Dermot O’Leary and already confirmed to take part are Robbie Williams, Will Ferrell, Gerard Butler, Mike Myers, Michael Sheen and many more. Throughout the programme viewers will see short films showing examples of UNICEF’s work around the world. Money raised through profits from ticket sales and donations made by viewers during the match will go to UNICEF’s invaluable work helping save and change children’s lives around the world.

Soccer Aid is raising money for UNICEF to help save and change children’s lives across the globe. UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children in more than 190 countries. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget.