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Christmas giving with Russell WBHO

The Medway Street Angels thank the Russells team

In recent years we have chosen not to send corporate Christmas cards and instead have made a donation to charity.

For Christmas 2020 we have chosen to support the Salford Foodbank and the company has donated £2,000 on behalf of the staff.

Based over at Media City, the Salford Foodbank is backed by the Trussell Trust and feeds hundreds of local people every week.

We invited members of staff to support the charity in their own way by bringing in donations of tins, packets and jars which were this week collected up and taken to the Foodbank for distribution to people in crisis over the Christmas period.

If you want to read more about the charity and what they do, or find a list of the items most in need, click Salford Foodbank.

We also donated £250 to the Rochdale Food Bank via the Rochdale Round Table in support of their Santa’s Sleigh initiative.

Staff at the new Clayton Hotel project in Portland Street handover their collection for the foodbank

Throughout the year the Russells team has been involved in a range of charitable activities, not least the £14,000 raised for Abigail’s Ambition in honour of colleague Leo Frechou’s daughter Abigail who has undergone treatment for bone cancer.

We also made a corporate conation of £1,000 in memory of Helen Wickham, wife of Russell WBHO construction manager Paul Wickham who tragically died earlier this year. The family wanted to raise money for The Christie, a charity close to her heart, and last week Paul, along with daughter Lucy and son George completed the Tatton Park 10k and have raised more than £8,500 so far.

And site manager David Ragan raised £600 for the NSPCC by taking part in the ‘Virtual London Marathon’ with help from friends, family and Russells colleagues.

Down in Kent members of our Chatham project team are volunteering directly with a homeless charity in Medway.

Five Russells site managers are heading out onto the streets every Thursday with the Medway Street Angels to serve up a hot meal to people who need it.

Lee Hamer, Matt Watts, Ryan Cagney, James Leighton and Dean Moran are all living down in Chatham during the week for the duration of the build.

Lee said they were introduced to the charity by Naomi Taylor who works as a cleaner at the site offices. The team has also been collecting cash donations for the charity to help fund their crucial work, with £360 handed over so far.

So impressed were the directors with the team’s efforts, the company has rounded that up to £1,000.

He said: “Naomi said they were always looking for people to help out and we were available so went down to see what it was all about.

“Very quickly we realised what an incredible job they are doing, setting up in a car park to provide people with a free nutritious hot meal like a beef stew or lentil curry. Guests get a hot drink and usually a cake or something sweet for dessert, and chance to relax and chat for a short while.

“It’s humbling as they are so grateful for the help, and it really helps you to appreciate all of the things you have in your own life.”

Fellow volunteer Dean Moran added: “It’s been a real eye opener for us, meeting people and hearing their stories and it’s desperately sad. So many of them are homeless or living in poverty due to bad luck and circumstances out of their control – having a breakdown after a loved one’s death, falling ill or losing a job – it really could be any one of us.

“And it’s not just rough sleepers who need the help. Obviously food poverty is a subject that’s been in the news a lot this year with the Marcus Rashford campaign, and it breaks our hearts to see families with children coming down to the soup kitchen as well.

“With the impact of the pandemic it’s likely the situation will only get worse, so we’ve also been spreading the word about what the charity does and are encouraging people to make donations.

“It’s great that the company has done the foodbank drive in the North West as well, it’s important that those of us who are in a fortunate position give back where we can.”

Medway Street Angels supports upwards of 140 people every week. For more information visit Medway Street Angels.

The Russells volunteers help out every Thursday at Medway Street Angels (L-R) Matt Watts, Ryan Cagney, Lee Hamer, James Leighton and Dean Moran