Latest News

From our Ambassadors and High Profile Supporters

Home > Our Celebrity supporters > Ambassador News

UUK Supporters sign open letter to world leaders

Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, 29 UUK Ambassadors, High Profile Supporters and Supporters, alongside members of the UUK Youth Advisory Board, signed an open letter to the world leaders calling for governments to involve children and young people in their discussions around solving the climate crisis. The letter was published in The Times at the very start of the conference on November 1st.

A huge thanks to the following Supporters for putting their name to this cause: Amita Suman, Andy Murray, Andy Robertson, Cat Deeley, Cel Spellman, Charley Boorman, Chelcee Grimes, Dr. Chris van Tulleken, Claudia Schiffer, Dafne Keen, David Harewood, Dermot O’Leary, Eddie Izzard, Emma Bunton, Ewan McGregor, Jemima Khan, Jimmy Nesbitt, Jonah Hauer-King, Laura Whitmore, Lee Juggurnauth, Levison Wood, Liam Payne, Martin Bell, Martin Compston, Michael Sheen, Olivia Colman, Orlando Bloom, Robbie Williams and Tom Hiddleston.

20 Years as UNICEF UK Ambassadors

2021 marks an incredible milestone for two of our UNICEF UK Ambassadors – Jemima Khan and Martin Bell.

We would like to take a moment here to say a huge THANK YOU on behalf of all the UNICEF family for their support – the extent of which has been vast and wide-ranging and would need more than a newsletter to cover properly! Between them they have travelled on 19 UNICEF trips covering 15 countries. They have personally donated, fundraised and raised awareness for UNICEF’s work for a huge range of campaigns, supported countless events, and advocated for UNICEF tirelessly reaching millions of people. Quite simply, they have done it all! And continue to do so today.

So on behalf of everyone at UNICEF – thank you Jemima and Martin! We are so grateful for your continued commitment to UNICEF.

Soccer Aid 2021 raises over £13 million for UNICEF UK

The eagerly anticipated match took place once again in Manchester, and this time players took centre stage at the sold out Etihad Stadium.

The match ended 3-0 to Soccer Aid World XI and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, David Beckham OBE presented the Soccer Aid for UNICEF shield to the winning Soccer Aid World XI FC team. It was another enthralling contest between England, led by Olly Murs and the Soccer Aid World XI FC, captained by Usain Bolt. England, co-managed by former England international Manager, Sven Goran-Eriksson and Soccer Aid for UNICEF co-founder and UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams were up against Soccer Aid for UNICEF stalwart Harry Redknapp and inspirational tennis coach, Judy Murray.

Tom Hiddleston chats to guests at LOKI Q&A

Ahead of the official release of LOKI on Disney +, UNICEF UK hosted a private pre-release virtual screening of the first episode followed by a Q&A with Ambassador and star of the show Tom Hiddleston, where guests had a chance to put their questions to him about the series and his work with UNICEF.

Blue Vinyl returns to UNICEF UK

Blue Vinyl will return to UNICEF UK in early 2022, when we will be releasing a new set of limited-edition LPs to raise money to support the Children’s Emergency Fund.

These vinyls will be iconic albums, pressed in our signature UNICEF cyan blue. As UNICEF responds within 48 hours to ship lifesaving supplies to those in need, we will be releasing a very limited supply of 48 vinyls per album. This year confirmed artists include Foo Fighters, Carole King, Eurythmics and Prince, with more artists to be announced.

We will have further information soon on how you can support us.

Dermot O’Leary talks to UNICEF’s Robert Jenkins on People Just People Podcast

Dermot O’Leary traveled to Jordan with UNICEF in 2018. There, he met with Rob Jenkins who was, at the time, the country representative for UNICEF within Jordan, and who is now Chief of Education for UNICEF globally.

Rob joined Dermot on his Audible podcast ‘People Just People’ to talk about his work with UNICEF, having worked for many years building a wealth of experience on the ground overseeing projects in Somalia, Uganda, Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and Mozambique, and most recently dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan.

International Women’s Day ’21 – Gemma Chan writes for Harper’s Bazaar

UNICEF UK Ambassador Gemma Chan wrote for Harper’s Bazaar to mark International Women’s Day, reflecting on her 2019 trip to Jamaica with UNICEF.

Gemma discussed meeting the inspirational Sabrina, who studied taekwondo at a UNICEF funded club in Kingston. This club was a haven for her from the violence that she and many children experience in the capital. Gemma also reflected on her conversation with young advocate Claire for UNICEF UK’s Voices of Youth to mark World Children’s Day last November, demonstrating the importance for championing female voices around the world.

Dafne Keen and Levison Wood co-write foreword to Futures at Risk Climate Report

As COP26 approaches and we turn more towards a climate related focus throughout the remainder of 2021, UNICEF UK High Profile Supporter Levison Wood and UUK Supporter Dafne Keen kicked things off by co-writing the foreword to accompany a report entitled Futures at Risk: Building Resilient Education and Health Systems for Children Affected by Climate Change Related Migration and Displacement.

The report identifies the impacts of climate change-related displacement and migration on education and health systems using a child rights lens. The report is primarily for civil servants in the UK Government, though we hope the report will be relevant for a wide range of climate change, migration/displacement, child rights, education, and health stakeholders.

Read the report here.

David Harewood is appointed as a UNICEF UK Ambassador

David has supported UNICEF since 2018, and has represented England as goalkeeper on the Soccer Aid for UNICEF pitch in 2018 and 2019.

As a High Profile Supporter, David has amplified some our key campaigns and travelled to Sierra Leone where he saw first-hand the neo-natal work UNICEF is doing there, and so much more.

Gemma Chan becomes a new Ambassador for UNICEF UK

In January 2021, Gemma Chan was appointed as a new UNICEF UK Ambassador. Gemma has amplified and championed children’s voices around the world with Unicef since 2015.

In 2019, she travelled to Jamaica, for Soccer Aid for UNICEF and met mothers and children who had lost loved ones to violence.

Audrey Hepburn Documentary Q&A

In December 2020, Universal  hosted  a virtual Q&A for V&A members and VIPs to celebrate the release of Universal’s new documentary film, Audrey, an intimate look at one of Hollywood’s biggest icons, and UNICEF Goodwill   Ambassador Audrey Hepburn.

UNICEF  UK Ambassador Lord David Puttnam joined Sean Hepburn-Ferrer (Audrey’s son) and granddaughter Emma Ferrer to discuss the film, Audrey’s impact on society, culture and what her role with UNICEF meant to her…


Ramla Ali and The People’s Postcode Lottery

High Profile Supporter, Ramla Ali, joined a video call with young people across the UK who attend Rights Respecting Schools. She heard how they continued their education during the first lockdown and why learning about children’s rights is more important than ever.

This activity was for our partnership with the People’s Postcode Lottery, who support vital education programmes including our Rights Respecting Schools Award, which aims to put children’s rights at the heart of day-to-day school life.

You can watch the discussion here

Liam Payne: Voices of Youth

UK Supporter, Liam Payne was also involved in Voices of Youth, and spoke to Areej, a 13-year-old girl from Yemen. Areej discussed the challenges faced by children in her home country.

Following their conversation Liam said, ‘World Children’s Day is all about celebrating children speaking out and standing up for their rights, and Areej is the perfect example of a determined, inspirational young girl doing all she can to lift the voices of children living in Yemen.’

Claire Foy talks to The Independent about her Lesotho trip

In February 2020, UNICEF UK High Profile Supporter Claire Foy travelled with UNICEF to Lesotho. Here she saw a range of their work including their response to climate related drought, projects for young women affected by HIV and water sanitation and hygiene programmes in schools. She also visited Maboto Health Clinic to see UNICEF supported maternal Claire.

Claire write this wonderful piece for The Independent to highlight how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting services for mothers. You can read her interview here.


Gemma Chan: Voices of Youth

In the build up to World Children’s Day (20th November 2020) and a part of Voices of Youth, High Profile supporter Gemma Chan, spoke to Claire, an inspiring 16-year-old youth advocate from Manchester. The pair discussed mental health, racial justice, and youth social action. Claire also talked to Gemma about her hopes for the future.

Their conversation was part of Voices of Youth, a global campaign, where high profile supporters and Ambassadors have shared their conversations with young people from around the world about issues that matter to them.

Open Up Better: Back to school for every girl

UNICEF UK supporter Claire Foy joined this high-level virtual event with stakeholders from government, civil society and the private sector, together with young people, to recommit to girls’ education during and after the Coronavirus pandemic.


Ewan and Charley take the Long Way…

Travelling from Argentina to LA on electric bikes, UNICEF UK Ambassadors Ewan and Charley visit UNICEF programmes along the way. In Bolivia, Peru and Honduras, they see first hand the difference UNICEF is making to children in the remotest parts of the world.

Find out more here

Rita Ora: At Home for Generation Covid

Rita entertained fans on her social channels performing three songs to raise money for UNICEF’s Save Generation Covid appeal.

Rita was also joined by fellow Ambassador, Eddie Izzard, who delivered a powerful message about the crisis for children in Yemen, her country of birth.

You can watch her performance here

Stars Unite for Soccer Aid for UNICEF

A record-breaking £9.3 million was raised at this year’s event. Broadcast exclusively live on ITV and STV, donations this year were matched by the UK Government and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The match had originally been scheduled for Saturday 6th June, but took place on 6th September behind closed doors.

UNICEF UK Ambassador Jimmy Nesbitt’s documentary ‘A Game of Two Halves’ also aired on ITV in September as part of this year’s campaign. Jimmy travelled to Nepal, Jordan and Glasgow to see how far UNICEF go to reach every child and see the impact of donations made to Soccer Aid for UNICEF over the years.

Andrew O’Hagan and his fellow Ambassadors join Esquire for a series of fiction in aid of Generation Covid

To celebrate 20 years as a UNICEF UK Ambasador, Andrew O’Hagan has worked with Esquire Magazine, and his fellow Ambassadors and Supporters to create a series of original stories by some of the world’s best writers read by some of UNICEF UK’s most well-known faces, all in aid of our Generation Covid appeal.

Huge thanks to all involved – Olivia Colman, Claire Foy, David Harewood, Eddie Izzard, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Dafne Keen, Cel Spellman, James Nesbitt, Jenna Coleman and Jessie Ware.

Find out more here

Michael Sheen joins Jessie Ware’s Table Manners podcast 

When two inspirational UNICEF UK ambassadors come together! Michael Sheen joined Jessie Ware’s in a recent episode of her podcast, to share their experiences of seeing UNICEF’s work and to talk about our appeal to help save Generation Covid. Listen now:

Gemma Chan celebrates International Tea Day

On International Tea Day in May, UNICEF UK High Profile Supporter Gemma Chan celebrated our partnership with The Ethical Tea Partnership.

Through this partnership they have helped UNICEF protect the lives of women, children & families through the Improving Lives Programme which is tackling areas such as child protection, health, sanitation and nutrition.

Ramla Ali visits Jordan 

In December Somali boxer and former refugee, Ramla Ali travelled to Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. She spent time at the UNICEF Makani ‘My Space’ Centre and met young girls whose families had fled Syria due to the conflict.

“I’m a refugee myself, born in Somalia, we fled to Kenya after the civil war…I have a similar story to everyone here.”

Ramla reflected on her trip in Harper’s Bazaar.

Ramla Ali

Ramla meets children in a UNICEF Makani ‘My Space’ Centre in Jordan.

Eddie keeps running

On Saturday 22 February 2020, as part of her fundraising marathon challenge ‘Make Humanity Great Again’, where she ran 28 marathons in 28 European countries, Eddie visited UNICEF’s supply division warehouse in Copenhagen – the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world.

Over the course of her marathon’s, Eddie raised £25,000 for UNICEF UK’s important work with refugee and migrant children in Turkey.

Halloween Ball 2019

A host of UNICEF UK Ambassadors and high-profile supporters attended our annual Halloween Ball – raising a phenomenal £250,000 to support UNICEF’s life-saving work for children in danger around the world.

The elegant baroque themed dinner featured stellar performances from chart topper Anne-Marie, UNICEF UK Ambassador Jessie Ware, and legendary musician Jools Holland.

Dinner guests heard from UNICEF UK supporter Levison Wood who spoke about the vital work made possible by generous donations, having recently arrived back from Democratic Republic of Congo where he saw first-hand UNICEF’s live-saving work.

Since 2013, UNICEF UK’s annual Halloween Ball has raised nearly £5 million to support UNICEF’s work. [October 2019]

Jessie Ware and Jools Holland performing at the Halloween Ball

Eddie Izzard is Wunderbar

UNICEF UK Ambassador Eddie Izzard is currently fundraising for UNICEF whilst performing her acclaimed comedy tour ‘Wunderbar’. UNICEF fundraisers will be present at 10 key venues across the tour – including Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester. Eddie will be doing a call out from the stage to encourage her fans to visit the UNICEF stations and learn about our work. On top of this, audiences will be able to read Eddie’s special message in the programme brochure, appealing for support for our work in Yemen – where Eddie was born. [September 2019]

Eddie and some of our fundraisers before the show

Jessie Ware marks 2 year Rohingya anniversary

Ambassador Jessie Ware appeared on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, to discuss the current situation for Rohingya people – two years on from the influx which has seen over 700,000 Rohingya refugees flee to Bangladesh. Jessie touched on her own trip to Cox’s Bazar in December 2017, and highlighted the work UNICEF has been doing since. Rohingya children continue to live in a state of limbo, not able to return home and without recognised legal status in Bangladesh. UNICEF is calling on the Government of Myanmar to establish conditions that would allow Rohingya refugees to return to their homes as soon as possible. Find out more about our continued work in Bangladesh here. [August 2019]

Jessie appearing on Victoria Derbyshire

The Truth Pixie Goes To School

Last December, Olivia Colman lent her voice to the audiobook recording of bestselling author Matt Haig’s popular children’s book ‘The Truth Pixie’ – with proceeds from sale going to UNICEF  UK. Now we are celebrating the release of ‘The Truth Pixie Goes To School’ – a follow-up adventure which sees the Truth Pixie and her human friend go to school, face a bully and learn the importance of friendship and being yourself. We are enormously grateful to Matt, Olivia and the team at Canongate for once again choosing to raise money for children in danger all over the world by supporting UNICEF through each purchase of this brand new audiobook title. [August 2019]

The Truth Pixie Goes To School voiced by Olivia Colman

Rita Ora performs at Ruisrock

UNICEF UK Ambassador Rita Ora wowed audiences at Finnish rock festival Ruisrock this month. As well as performing songs from her latest album, Rita took the opportunity to speak in detail about her work with UNICEF and encouraged fans to donate there and then by following the on-screen instructions projected on stage. [July 2019]

Rita's Ruisrock set

Levison Wood celebrates OD4C at ICC World Cup match

Writer and explorer Levison Wood attended the International Cricket Council World Cup England vs India match on 30th June, to support UNICEF & the ICC’s #OneDayForChildren partnership. Lev appeared pitch-side, to encourage the stadium audience and viewers at home to text donate – he was joined on the day by UNICEF India Ambassador and cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar. Throughout the World Cup short films featuring Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom and supporters Usain Bolt and David Harewood will be shown live on screen and via broadcast to inspire cricket fans to make a contribution to UNICEF. [June 2019]

Lev encouraging donations pitch-side

Stars unite on and off the pitch for Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019

This Father’s Day, Soccer Aid for UNICEF took place at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium and raised over £6.7million. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, leading to a nail-biting penalty shoot-out for the second year in a row, with the Soccer Aid World XI (captained by Usain Bolt) beating England (captained by Sir Mo Farah) 3 goals to 2.

Making up the star-studded squads were new and returning players including James McAvoy, Jamie Redknapp, Didier Drogba, Niall Horan, Mark Wright, Joe Wicks, Sam Claflin, Danny Jones, Kem Cetinay, Michael Owen and David Seaman.

The show was presented by High Profile Supporter Dermot O’Leary, with an exclusive half time performance from UNICEF UK Ambassador Rita Ora. For the first time, people calling to donate were put through to an ‘appreciation station’ with the likes of UNICEF UK Ambassadors Keeley Hawes, Jessie Ware and supporters Cel Spellman, Gemma Chan and Sanjeev Bhaskhar at the end of the phone – thanking members of the Great British public for their support.

Throughout the ITV show, short appeal films presented by UNICEF UK Ambassadors Rita Ora, Olivia Colman, James Nesbitt, and supporters Gemma Chan, Sanjeev Bhaskar and player David Harewood highlighted where the vital money raised for Soccer Aid for UNICEF goes. [June 2019]

Soccer Aid World XI celebrate their win
Unicef/Stella Pictures

Gemma, Keeley and Sanjeev manning the phones
Unicef/Clazie Flynn

Rita Ora fundraises at O2 concert

Newly appointed UNICEF UK Ambassador Rita Ora encouraged fans to donate to UNICEF at her O2 concert earlier this month. Our staff were on hand at the UNICEF fundraising stall to process monthly donation sign ups from concert goers. Most recently Rita visited her native Kosovo to see how UNICEF programmes are improving child health, childhood development and education in marginalised communities. Rita is set to perform at Soccer Aid for UNICEF on Sunday 16th June. [May 2019]


Footage from Rita's recent trip to Kosovo will be broadcast during the Soccer Aid match in June 2019

David Harewood attends Parliamentary Soccer Aid for UNICEF

Parliamentarians gathered in the Speaker’s State Rooms in Westminster, to hear how they can take the Great Big Kickabout to their constituencies, and organise local events in a bid to raise money for Soccer Aid and celebrate the good that UK Aid can do. Hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon Jon Bercow, the reception saw David tell MPs about his recent trip to Sierra Leone, where he saw first-hand how UNICEF programmes are improving child health, early childhood development and education in vulnerable communities. David Harewood will play for the England squad in this year’s Soccer Aid for UNICEF match. [May 2019]

David Harewood: “I’m asking everyone to support Soccer Aid for UNICEF and take part in the Great Big Kickabout so every child can have a childhood full of play".

Gemma Chan visits Jamaica with UNICEF UK

In May, actress Gemma Chan travelled to Kingston, Jamaica, where almost 80% of children witness or experience violence in their homes or communities. Gemma visited a local school, where the Head Teacher shared that more than 100 of their pupils have lost a father to gun violence. Sport for Education programmes provide safe spaces for children to play away from gangs, access counselling services, and gain essential life skills and confidence to break the cycle of violence. Gemma’s film will be broadcast during Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019. [May 2019]

Gemma in Jamaica

Tanni Grey-Thompson visits UNICEF UK Office

High Profile Supporter Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson visited the UNICEF UK office, to speak to colleagues about her recent work campaigning for transport accessibility, safeguarding and equality in sport. Tanni is currently focusing much of her energy on advocating with the government on position of trust legislation, including plans to expand that to the Commonwealth and links to her other projects in the UK. [May 2019]

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
Chris McAndrew

Sanjeev Bhaskar visits Malawi with Unicef UK

Earlier this year, actor Sanjeev Bhaskar travelled to a Unicef funded Children’s Corner in Malawi. In these safe spaces, children are given the freedom to play and learn without fear. Sanjeev visited a family of three siblings who with no parental figures are self-supporting. At the Children’s Corner, the brothers can put their responsibilities on hold, and just be children again – as they so rightly deserve. Sanjeev’s film will be broadcast during Soccer Aid for Unicef 2019. [April 2019]

Sanjeev in Malawi

David Harewood visits Sierra Leone with UNICEF UK

Supergirl’s David Harewood travelled to Sierra Leone to learn how UNICEF programmes positively impact the health and development of vulnerable children. David met with staff at Makeni hospital in the centre of the country and saw first-hand the life-saving equipment which UNICEF and UK Aid have supplied. He also travelled to UNICEF supported health centres in rural areas delivering essential vaccinations to children. David’s film will be broadcast during Soccer Aid for Unicef 2019. [April 2019]

David in Sierra Leone

Ambassadors and supporters raise awareness for Cyclone Idai

UNICEF UK’s High Profile Supporters took to social media to highlight the urgent need for donations following destruction caused by Cyclone Idai. The weather system created a severe humanitarian disaster, with thousands forced out of their flooded homes and many families lacking basic supplies including food, clean water and sanitation facilities.

UNICEF is working with governments and partners across the region to help meet the immediate needs of affected children and families, and support fast, sustainable recovery. [March 2019]

Ambassador Sir Chris Hoy was amongst our supporters sharing the UNICEF UK Cyclone Idai Facebook Fundraiser. Chris visited Malawi with UNICEF in 2014.

Cel Spellman attends OutRight Exhibition at the Houses of Parliament 

Actor and Radio 1 presenter Cel Spellman – alongside a group of passionate school pupils – appealed to MPs to publicly commit to reduce air pollution to acceptable levels. UNICEF UK is campaigning for a national strategy that prioritises action for children, under-pinned by ring-fenced funding, to ensure that no child is denied their right to clean air.

Cel fronted the launch of our OutRight programme in 2016. [March 2019]

Cel with the students and staff from Holywell Primary School

James Nesbitt visits Nepal with UNICEF UK

UNICEF UK Ambassador James Nesbitt travelled to Nepal to document the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake which devastated the country. Jimmy visited classrooms which UNICEF helped rebuild following architectural damage across the region. There, children are provided with toys and learning tools, in place of those which were destroyed during the earthquake. Jimmy’s film will be broadcast during Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019. [January 2019]

Jimmy in Nepal