An initiative by 21 Co-op food stores in the North East, including the one in the Ponteland area, has brought in an impressive total in aid of premature and sick newborn babies and their families.
Fund-raising efforts for the Tiny Lives Trust, which supports the Neonatal Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, over a period of six months included sponsored walks, bake sales, selling Tiny Lives branded Christmas cards, and the traditional bucket donations from kind-hearted shoppers.
Andrew Franks, manager of the Co-op store in Darras Hall, was among those who joined Tiny Lives community and events fund-raiser Louise Carroll to officially hand over the £21,054.50 donation and see first-hand the life-saving work that goes on at the unit every day.
He said: “It has been an absolute privilege supporting Tiny Lives over the last six months – the Co-op is passionate about local causes.
“Of course, I have to say a big thank you to my colleagues involved over the 21 stores and, most importantly, the generosity of our customers, which will really help make a difference to people’s lives.”
The Tiny Lives Trust is a registered charity that aids more than 700 families a year on the unit.
It aims to provide the highest quality of care on an ongoing basis and needs to raise at least £250,000 every year to support a range of facilities, staff, and equipment.
It provides travel cards so that parents can visit their child without worrying about travel costs, among other services, and emotional support in the form of a Tiny Lives-funded social worker on site.
Louise said: “We are so grateful for the incredible amount of money donated by the Co-op. Support from North East businesses really means the world to us as a small local charity.
“We’re always working to improve our services and support to the Neonatal Unit, and we’re blown away by the kindness of the Co-op staff and customers.”