Never ones to shy away from a challenge, our staff are a warm-hearted lot when it comes to raising cash for good causes, and the Benidorm or Bust Charity Car Rally being taken on by one of our team will take some beating in the novelty stakes.
Our Charity Focus Group, made up of staff from around the business, meets regularly to plan fund-raising activities, and we encourage everyone to put forward ideas and nominate their favourite charities for some support.
Northumbria Blood Bikes is a registered charity set up by local volunteers, which delivers essential blood, plasma, and medical supplies to hospitals across the North of England, covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Darlington. The service also delivers blood to the Great North Air Ambulance every day of the year, and has recently started to deliver baby milk to premature babies all over the country.
The service saves the NHS in this region £400,000 a year, but costs £60,000 to run, and all that money comes from voluntary donations. Here in the North East we have the biggest group in the country, covering 250,000 miles a year, and its work was recognised when it won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017 – the MBE of the charity world.
In critical situations, blood or other medical items need to be delivered urgently in order to save a patient’s life, and all the drivers are volunteer advanced drivers. The eight blood bikes, with their distinctive livery, emergency lights, and narrow profile, can quickly get through busy traffic to reach their destination. For bulky items, or in extreme weather conditions, the charity uses five cars too, to ensure its service is available every day of the year.
This June will see team Blood Brothers – Steven Laws, his brother Gary and Steven’s son Sam – join 200 others to drive a series of pre-loved (for that, read ‘old banger’) cars from the UK to Benidorm, covering 1,400 miles in just four days, and completing a series of ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ style challenges along the way.
Sam, who is a Junior Data Centre Service Engineer and one of our successful apprentices on our in-house training scheme, completing his Level 3 in Microsoft Certified Systems Administration this year, said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of the convoy, and to raising as much money as possible for Northumbria Blood Bikes to continue their vital work.
“We’ll be in a 52-plate Honda Accord which has more than a few miles on the clock, and some of the cars will be styled like Batmobiles and helicopters so it should be a great sight. Dad will be doing the driving, and me and my uncle Gary will be taking it in turns to ride shotgun, and take charge of navigating and providing the tunes and in-car entertainment.
“It should be good fun as well as raising cash for the charity, and we are really hoping to hit the £2000 target, with the help of local businesses and the public.”
Cars taking part must be roadworthy and cost no more than £500. Steven has funded the car, plus the £200 event entry fee, hotel accommodation and fuel out of his own pocket, so every penny raised will go to the charity.
Here at ITPS we are pleased to be supporting the rally with both a cash donation, some car stickers and some extra fund-raising support from our Charity Focus Group, and Steven’s employer has pledged to match his final total too.
If you have a couple of pounds to spare and want to support this great cause, visit the fundraising page here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=SamLaws1&pageUrl=1
Or if you want to know more about Northumbria Blood Bikes or you can spare some of your free time to help make a difference to patients across the North East, the charity is always interested to hear from you. Riders, shift controllers or fundraisers – there’s a role for everyone! Find out more at: www.northumbriabloodbikes.org.uk