A host of well-known North East businesses have signed up to an innovative contest, aimed at raising as much money as possible to help those with disabilities.
The Percy Hedley Foundation’s Challenge 500 sees firms being given a £500 seed fund. From there, it is up to them to launch their own fundraising initiatives throughout the next six months, the hope being that participants will beat the £50,000 total raised last year.
Among those taking the plunge in 2014 are DB Regio, Utilitywise, Gordon Brown Law Firm, ITPS, Isos Housing and Northern Gas Networks, whose activities will be followed throughout by The Journal, the Challenge 500 media partner.
The Percy Hedley Foundation, a registered charity, works to ensure disabled people learn the necessary skills to become as independent as possible, leading full and active lives.
Its head of marketing, communications and income generation Julie Calvert said: “It’s great to have a mix of organisations involved with different sizes, different sectors and different specialities represented.
“It’s an incredibly flexible way of raising money and organisations benefit from positive PR, team building and a contribution to their CSR objectives.”
One of the first businesses to pledge its support was the Gateshead-based IT company ITPS, which has plans for a range of fundraising events and competitions.
Director Susan Jopling said: “Percy Hedley is one of our nominated charities for 2014, and we were quick to sign up to Challenge 500. It’s a chance to have some fun in aid of a great cause, and we aim to raise as much money as possible to support disabled people and their families.”
Chrissie Anderson, who is heading up the Challenge 500 team at social housing provider Isos, likewise stressed the benefits of the initiative.
“At Isos we don’t just provide houses; we also work hard to invest in our communities and the people that live in them,” she said.
“Getting involved with the Percy Hedley Foundation’s Challenge 500 initiative is an exciting way to support a worthy, local charity that benefits the lives of people in our communities.
“On top of that, we’re a competitive bunch and we’ve already set our sights on coming out on top of the fundraising table.”
Ambassador for the project this year is Nickie Gott, managing director of She’s Gott It! and chair of the North East Chamber of Commerce Women’s Advisory Board.
North East businesses interested in getting involved in Challenge 500 should visit www.percyhedley.org.uk or call Sheila Coltman on 0191 238 1321.