Philanthropist Sir Peter Vardy has called on North East businesses to support an innovative cancer centre in the region.
The millionaire entrepreneur has already backed Maggie’s North East through his charitable foundation and is calling on other businesses to follow suit in helping what he calls an “amazing facility.”
Maggie’s Centre at the Freeman Hospital provides practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.
The £3m centre opened in 2013 and has already seen 23,500 people use its facilities in the first year - outstripping the charity’s own estimates of 4,500.
Sir Peter is calling for North East businesses to join in Maggie’s North East ‘Sponsor A Day’ campaign - which encourages firms to contribute a day’s running costs of the centre.
Speaking to The Journal, Sir Peter said: “I think Maggie’s is a truly amazing facility, with equally amazing people behind it.
“The fact that they’ve had as many as 23,500 people use the centre in little over a year just goes to show the level of demand in the region.”
He added: “It would be excellent if the NHS funded the centre and its activities, but the fact is this doesn’t happen. There is quite obviously a great need for Maggie’s in the region, so the job is up to us as businesses and individuals who like to help people in their time of need or struggle.
“The Foundation will continue to support Maggie’s whether its through Sponsor A Day or covering the cost of another employee.
“I would encourage all North East businesses to think about supporting this valuable cause and maintain a fantastic asset in the region. The giving can form a good part of their social responsibility strategy.”
Businesswoman Lorna Moran, chair of Maggie’s North East, is behind the Sponsor A Day campaign.
She said: “Cancer is a very emotional illness, and it’s not just the patient who has a hard time of it. Family and friends are also impacted, and what Maggie’s offers is like nowhere else.
“Never before have cancer sufferers and their loved ones been able to access psychological support, financial advice on benefits and mortgages, and a caring shoulder to lean on.
“Like many business people, a lot of charity calls come my way, but I have to say that Maggie’s really blew me away when I visited the centre. There is so much fantastic work going on, with such little resource.”
Business who have already pledged their support for Maggie’s North East include Ward Hadaway, Procter &, Kilfrost and NRG.
Businesses who would like to Sponsor A Day at Maggie’s should get in touch with centre fundraising manager, Kelly Knighting-Wykes on email@example.com.