Staff ‘cook–up’ a treat for charity

Posted on 02 Mar 2009

Culinary skills from staff at Jennings’ Ford and Mazda dealerships have been raising money for a number of local charities.

Forget ‘Ready Steady Cook’, ‘Come Dine with Me’ and ‘MasterChef’ for that matter – because staff at the group’s supersite based on Riverside Road, reckon they’ve got the perfect ingredients to cook-up treats for anyone’s pallet, but more importantly, they’ve raised just under £1500 in the process.

Cakes, crumbles, curries and chilli con carne are just a few culinary delights Ann Copeland, assistant accountant and Edel Holyoak, café manager have had on the menu at the Ford and Mazda dealership, just off Wessington Way in Sunderland.

For the past four consecutive years, Ann and Adele have been donning their pinnies and devoting their spare time to baking and cooking for staff at the dealership who have kindly donated amounts of cash for the treats.

The cooking challenge all started when Derek Bell, commercial sales executive at the Sunderland dealership, returned from a holiday to Gambia and wanted to do something to raise money to buy pencils, toys and clothing for the deprived and poverty stricken African children. Ann came up with the idea of baking cakes and thought it would be a good idea to ask staff if they wanted to make donations for the delights.

Because the fundraising was so successful, the following year, Ann was keen to do something similar, but this time she wanted the money to be donated to a local charity.

“We normally start baking in February and continue throughout the year until about November time, it’s hard work but worth it when we add up what we have raised at the end of the year,” said Ann Copeland.

Ann added: “I sometimes feel that we all too often, in everyday life, think more of how we can make things easier for ourselves and at times give little thought for those less fortunate.”

“The effort that we the staff at Jennings Ford and Mazda in Sunderland have put in, seems easy compared to those who just need a little help.”

This year, a total of £360 has been raised and donated to the Percy Hedley Foundation in Newcastle, a charity providing specialist services for disabled people in the North East of England.

Lynn Watson, head teacher at Percy Hedley School in Newcastle, said; “The very kind donation from staff at Jennings Ford and Mazda was greatly appreciated. We have just recently launched our hydrotherapy appeal and the money donated will contribute towards this particular fund.”

The Percy Hedley School, which is based in Newcastle, opened in 1953 and initially catered for 10 children with cerebral palsy and expanded to also meet the need of children with sensory, speech, language and communication problems. Last June, the school, which now has 170 pupils on the roll and offers a regional service including outreach and training in the North East, was awarded ‘Specialist School Status’ by the Department of Children, Schools and Families in June 2008, in recognition of its staff expertise and outstanding practice.

Other charities benefiting from the fundraising efforts from staff at Jennings Ford and Mazda, include St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland, the Children’s Baby Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital and Marie Curie Cancer.

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