Sunderland factory staff’s charity marathon

The Grundfos team that put the Big Green Commute week together, left to right, Steven Palmer, Ann Anderson and Paul Freeman
The Grundfos team that put the Big Green Commute week together, left to right, Steven Palmer, Ann Anderson and Paul Freeman

Saddle sore staff at a Sunderland factory have taken on a mammoth fund-raising challenge.

Workers at pump manufacturer Grundfos covered the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats on foot and by bike – without ever leaving their Castletown building.

People were walking or cycling to work instead of driving and we counted their miles towards the target, while in reception we have two cycles for employees to clock up miles too.

Janette Ede

Staff combined raising money for charity and getting themselves fitter during the Grundfos Big Green Commute, which saw them clock up the equivalent of more than 975 miles.

“People were walking or cycling to work instead of driving and we counted their miles towards the target, while in reception we have two cycles for employees to clock up miles too,” explained Janette Ede, Senior Environment, Health and Safety Specialist with Grundfos.

People were able to pay to nominate fellow members of staff to complete miles on either of the bikes, while those walking or cycling into work used pedometers to measure their miles and add them to the collective total.

The week has been organised by three teams within the Grundfos workforce – the charity team, the health and wellbeing team and the environmental (BEST) team.

“The week also aims to make people more aware of environmental issues, particularly their own carbon footprint, as well as raising funds and encouraging staff to get fitter. We realised not everyone would have the option of walking or cycling to work, so have put the bikes in reception so everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the Big Green Commute,” explained Janette.

Money raised will be divided between Grundfos’s chosen charity, the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAAS) and Water2Life, a Grundfos charity bringing clean water to Honduras.

The GNAAS operates three helicopters 365 days a year across the region and into Cumbria.

GNAAS crews respond to about 1,000 calls annually and onboard their aircraft are specialist trauma doctors and paramedics who bring accident and emergency expertise to the scene.

The Grundfos Big Green Commute Week culminated in general manager Mark Lister and production manager Ben Howell cycling their own miles on the exercise bikes and then completing a sponsored ‘ice bucket’ challenge.

Grundfos employs more than 18,000 people globally and opened its Wearside plant in 1973.