O2 Raises cash for children and young people

Children and young people from South Leeds are to benefit from a huge fund-raising effort by O2 people in Leeds.

When they voted last year to raise money for the St Luke’s CARES charity, the 2,700 staff aimed for a target of £15,000. Twelve months on, they have more than DOUBLED that amount.

With it they are buying a youth bus for the St Luke CARES mobile youth service. This is used to take activities and care out into the community for young people who may not have the transport to get to their centre in Beeston Road, Leeds. The keys will be handed over at O2 on Friday, May 1, 2009.

The new vehicle, fully fitted for purpose, will replace one which was borrowed. Fund raising took place as part of O2’s “Big Site” project and includes a bursary from Yorkshire Forward. O2 staff are asked to put forward charities of their choice and colleagues are asked to vote on which one they want to help. St Luke’s CARES was put forward by staff who had volunteered for work in the past with the charity and been impressed by their work with young people.

Said Project Chair Mark Nichols: “The mobile youth bus provides a facility that reaches right into the communities that need it most. Witnessing at first hand the faces of children when they see St Luke’s in their own back yard, demonstrates immediately how much they value this service. It is a real and practical way to encourage children to channel their energy into something very positive.”

He added: “Our volunteers have been tireless in their efforts to raise as much money as possible. They have done everything from hand making cards to sell at Christmas to jumping out of aeroplanes.”

The support is part of the O2 It’s Your Community programme, which allows groups, organisations and charities to apply for awards ranging from £100 to £1000 to make a difference within communities. To date over £1 million has been donated to over 1,500 projects across the UK. To find out more and apply visit www.itsyourcommunity.co.uk