Sound Training, the North East Small Business of the Year, is set to strengthen its transatlantic links when it takes a team of 18 to the USA to take part in the New York City Marathon with the aim of raising at least £15,000 for Teesside’s poorest families.
Eight of the Middlesbrough company’s staff will be joined in the big race around the New York’s famous streets by partner schools and friends to raise funds for a unique fund set up by charitable movement Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.
The Sound Training team will be running in aid of the Schools Hardship Fund, set up by the Foundation to work with schools to provide vital support to some of the least privileged families and children across Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Hartlepool.
CEO Claire Preston and her Sound Training colleagues will be joined on November 6 by sister-in-law Lisa Preston and Jordan Clayton from Hunters Teesside Estate Agents, who, as patrons of the Foundation, already donate 5% of their annual profits to the charity.
Also joining them will be Jonathan Lowes, Achievement Leader and ‘Sound Trained’ teacher at Middlesbrough’s Acklam Grange School, Maryssa O’Connor, Principal of Stockton’s North Shore Academy, two colleagues from Sound Training partner school, Oaks Park High School in Ilford, as well as three friends.
It will be the second time Claire and Lisa have tackled the 26-mile run through the streets of Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn and Harlem, finishing in Central Park, but the rest of the team will be making their marathon debuts.
The idea was the brainchild of Claire, who aims to combine the fundraising marathon by working with the UK Trade & Industry office in New York to build on her company’s US successes while there.
Having already provided its ground-breaking training scheme to children in more than 500 schools across the UK, Sound Training has enjoyed a US breakthrough in California, Florida and Maine over the past 12 months.
Claire, who is heading for Texas in August for appointments with education leaders there, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for all of us.
“Not only will the marathon be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of the team but we’ll be doing it in the knowledge that we’re raising funds for Teesside children who most need our support.
“The Schools Hardship Fund touches the hearts of everyone who hears about it because there really are some Teesside children who live in poverty; it’s that thought that will drive us on when the going gets tough, so everyone is now busy fundraising.
“But, of course, it’s also a wonderful team-building exercise for the Sound Training staff and our school partners, while it presents us with a further opportunity to build on the interest we’ve already generated in the States.
“We’re working closely with the UKTI office here and in New York to make appointments with education professionals over there, while I know Jonathan and others in the team would love to teach a Sound Training class at a school in the Big Apple and possibly forge lasting links for Acklam Grange.”
As part of the fundraising efforts, Sound Training is holding a series of events include a wine tasting evening, barn dance, car boot sale, pamper evening, race night, treasure hunt, and a Great Gatsby-themed 1920s night at Acklam Hall.
Those taking part in the New York City Marathon are Sound Training’s Claire Preston, Sarah Earl, Lisa Parkinson, Emma Craig, Michelle Hicks, Marcela Willis, Kwaku Safiah and Catherine Coleman, Lisa Preston and Jordan Clayton of Hunters Teesside, Jonathan Lowes of Acklam Grange School, Maryssa O’Connor of North Shore Academy, David and Marie Dutch from Oaks Park High School Ilford, friends Laura Requeno of British Airways, Grant Tuer and Trevor Bosomworth. Sound Training Founder Director Katy Parkinson will be joining the team on the momentous trip as ‘team photographer’.