Gentoo and Barclays help Sunderland families prepare for new school year

The firms are helping to prepare for the new school year.
The firms are helping to prepare for the new school year.

Two city firms have helped families prepare for the new school year.

Gentoo joined forces with Barclays for its ‘Helping Hands’ campaign, which has helped donate more than 2,000 items of food and school uniforms to families in need across Sunderland.

The number of school uniforms that have been donated is amazing. There are so many people in the local community that need a helping hand and by working with Gentoo we were able to hand out school uniforms to those in need.

Katherine Mason

The two worked with the Sunderland Connect Network, and local schools to collect unwanted school uniforms and spare food from staff, parents and the local community.

In total, 1,341 items of school uniform and almost 1,000 items of food were donated.

Uniforms were collected across seven schools – Eppleton Primary, Southwick Primary, Hudson Road Primary, Barmston Village Primary, Biddick Academy, Hetton Secondary School, New Penshaw Academy and Willow Fields Community Primary School - where parents donated uniforms that their children had grown out of.

Gentoo and Barclays also received a number of donations from staff and the community.

Michelle Meldrum, Gentoo Executive Director, said: “Our Helping Hands campaign is an opportunity for us to make a difference in the local community. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our staff, corporate partners and the community.

“As a housing association, we are aware of the financial difficulties that families are facing at this time and this campaign is one way we can help. A huge thank you to everyone who has donated and to Barclays and the Sunderland Connect Network who have supported us to make a difference to these families.”

Gentoo volunteers dropped off the donations at Penshaw Community Centre, where families could come along and pick up school uniforms.

Uniforms were also forwarded to other local community hubs including Southwick Salvation Army, Easington Lane Community Access Point (ELCAP) and Washington Village Community Centre.

Katherine Mason, Secretary of Penshaw Community Centre, said: “The number of school uniforms that have been donated is amazing. There are so many people in the local community that need a helping hand and by working with Gentoo we were able to hand out school uniforms to those in need.

“It is so nice to see businesses and local communities working together.”