Businessmen launch raffle to boost charity sector

Two of the North’s leading businessmen have come together to boost the region’s beleaguered charity sector, as it struggles with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Middlesbrough charities benefitting from the Great Northern Raffle include the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

Entrepreneur Jeremy Middleton CBE founded Charity Escapes, which has raised several hundred thousand pounds for charity.

The Great Northern Raffle offers charities a fundraising platform to help compensate for the lack of ‘live’ events, which Charity Escapes supports with prizes.

The Christmas draw is being supported by Robert Forrester, chief executive of Bristol Street Motors, which has donated a 70 plate £17,000 Hyundai i10 N-Line in Dragon Red as top prize.

The top of the range car includes sporty N-Line styling, Bluetooth, reversing camera, phone connectivity plus much more.

This year charities have had to cancel all the events such as sponsored runs, gala balls, and afternoon teas that raise vital funds and keep supporters engaged.

Lots of the region’s charities are also dependent on grant funding which is now being rediverted to Covid-19 response funds, with devastating consequences for charity finances.

It is estimated that charities in the north will lose well over £200m in income, at a time when demand for their services is growing.

Mr Middleton – pictured above with Jenny Williams from the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation – said: “We appealed for businesses to step up and support the Great Northern Raffle with prize donations and Bristol Street Motors has exceeded our expectations with this incredibly generous prize for our Christmas draw.

“We are aware that smaller, locally based charities are especially exposed to the effects of the coronavirus crisis with two-thirds having to make cuts to the services so many local people rely on.

“The chance to win a car for Christmas and support some great good causes at a time when many are facing their biggest challenge to date in light of the Covid-19 pandemic is a potent combination and we hope the public will get behind the draw.

“Businesses may not be able to celebrate Christmas with their staff in the usual way this year, but if they want to support the Great Northern Raffle with a donation of money that would normally be spent on a party we would love them to get in touch. We’ll make sure their staff are entered into the draw for this amazing car.”

Robert Forrester added: “This is a fantastic initiative that Bristol Street Motors is proud to support.

“The company has many dealerships across the North of England and it’s important that we help and support local charities and good causes in the communities where we work.

“I may be biased but the Hyundai i10 is a brilliant car and the lucky winner certainly won’t be having a Blue Monday.”

The raffle closes on December 31 at 9pm and winner to be announced on ‘Blue Monday’ – Monday January 18, 2021.

The Raffle is easy to enter – text RAFFLE to 70215 for more information and you’ll be entered into the free draw with the option to make a donation to support the charities.

• Full details of all the charities involved, terms and conditions and how charities and businesses can get involved are available here