How businesses are rallying round to lift spirits at Sunderland hospital wards, care homes and charities
Sunderland businesswomen have set up a support group for people affected by the COVID-19 crisis which has raised more than £4,000 to help good causes.
Inspired by the weekly Clap for Carers demonstrations, which is bringing communities together, Jolene Casey, who runs a popular Facebook food group, set up a community support Go Fund Me page with fundraiser Karen Seafield.
They set out with a target of £1,000 which they smashed within 24 hours. In less than a month, they’ve now raised more than £4,000 towards a new target of £10,000. The fund has also been boosted by donations of time and resources from businesses and individuals across the city.
A further eight people have joined the COVID-19 Community Support NE group, which now comprises of Fiscus Charity director Anita Heskett-Saddington, Spark Fm DJ Joe Gullis, local medium Stephen Crawford, café owner Sue Parkin, food blogger Grant Pearson, store owner Michelle King and Mia Interior’s Jonathan Smith and Dawn Kelly.
So far, the group have delivered food parcels, PPE, Easter eggs, sanitisers and toiletries to groups including Wearside Woman In Need, Crisis Team Hopewood Park, The North East Autism Society, Barbara Priestman School, Supporting Food Bank Hudson Road School, Children’s Services, frontline workers at Sunderland Royal as well as other key workers.
Jolene Casey said she had been overwhelmed by people’s generosity.
The businesswoman, who has also been working with Pizza Uno in Pallion to give free pizzas to NHS staff, said: “Our continued goal is to support NHS and other key workers through community cohesion in our endeavour to get through the difficult times ahead.
“We need to support each other and friends, family, neighbours and the local organisations and businesses have all been amazing and have rallied together to be at the forefront of the campaign team’s drive.”
Community fundraiser and team coordinator, Karen Seafield, said “We did an Easter Egg Appeal for four local children’s homes and four residential homes - gathering together over 500 Easter eggs and treats from our lovely locals in the community.
“We even had local football teams giving up their Easter eggs to give to our children’s wards at Sunderland Royal hospital. We have appealed for toiletries for patients with no visitors, and collected hundreds of toiletry packs, we have donated many hand creams and sanitisers to staff of NHS and key workers.
“We have donated 400 plastic car covers to local frontline key workers, provided full body protective suits, and masks and we have ordered 500 protective face visors from a local company.”
It comes as the Echo is running its #actsofkindness campaign to highlight the amazing things people are doing to help others.
The team has also worked with Costcutter, Londis, Bookers Warehouse and supermarket giants Asda and Morrisons to gather together van loads of water and sports drinks, with the help of a donation from The North East Motorbility Warehouse, to deliver drinks to those in need.
Other achievements include helping young people in care by delivering care packages, including food and computer games.
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