Sunderland businesses’ £80k pledge to help children

The National Glass Centre was the venue of the launch of the NSPCC Business Board to raise funds for Sunderland Children. Pictured are Alison Thompson, chair of the Sunderland Business Board of the NSPCC, Sue Schofield, manager of Childline School Services and Paula Telford, development manager of 'NEGLECT'.

The National Glass Centre was the venue of the launch of the NSPCC Business Board to raise funds for Sunderland Children. Pictured are Alison Thompson, chair of the Sunderland Business Board of the NSPCC, Sue Schofield, manager of Childline School Services and Paula Telford, development manager of 'NEGLECT'.

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BUSINESS bosses have pledged their support to raising £80,000 to help children in trouble across Wearside.

At an event at the National Glass Centre, businessmen and women were told about the problems facing youngsters in the city before the newly-formed NSPCC Sunderland Business Board was officially launched.

The group, which includes SAFC commercial director Gary Hutchinson, deputy director of Gentoo Living Michelle Meldrum, and Allison Thompson, director of Ashmore Consulting, who is chairman of the board, hopes to raise £80,000 to implement a new ChildLine initiative in schools throughout the city.

The ChildLine School Service aims to educate primary and secondary school pupils about the different forms of abuse, and where they can go for help.

Allison said businesses are keen to break the fund-raising target to protect the city’s children.

“It’s about raising some of the issues in Sunderland – which are also problems in the rest of the country – which people prefer not to talk about,” she said. “I think, it’s happening in my community and we should do something about it.

“We have some really willing people involved to help to support and grow the service.

“And although £80,000 seems like a lot of money, if we break it down and try and collect it in parts, I think it’s doable.”

The money which the Sunderland Business Board wants to raise is part of a countrywide target of £20m and will host a number of fund-raising events in the new year. Coun Harry Trueman deputy leader of the city council, added: “I think it will work, and I think the NSPCC have thought long and hard about who they have put on the board.”

“It’s well appointed and I hope it will make a difference.”