12 Aug 13

EDF Energy lends Helping Hands and Green Fingers Support for Local Homeless Charity

A group of Sunderland-based customer service workers are switching from their day jobs for a spot of serious gardening to brighten up the grounds of one of the city's main homeless families services ahead of their most important fundraiser of the year.

A group of six staff from EDF Energy at Doxford International Business Park have volunteered to plant new flowers and shrubs and trim hedges and trees in the gardens of the Ashkirk Homeless Unit through the company’s Helping Hands scheme.

The charitable service holds an annual family fun day event at its Lakeside Village centre to raise essential funds to maintain their services, and the EDF Energy staff are helping to tidy-up their grounds ahead of the big day on Saturday August 17.

Ashkirk Homeless Unit provides shelter and support to the homeless. The service works with families to complete support packages in order to develop the skills and confidence they need to move on and maintain permanent accommodation.

Daniel Bennett, one of the volunteers from EDF Energy, said: “The family fun day is very important for Ashkirk Homeless Unit as it relies so much on what is raised from the event, which is why we decided to help them prepare for the big day.

“The venue for the event is the unit’s outside grounds, so we wanted to make sure that everything looks great to make sure the day is really enjoyable for everyone.”

The services provided at Ashkirk also tackle the effects of homelessness on children within the community and aim to break the cycle of repeated homelessness and encourage a better quality of life.

This year funds from the open day will go towards delivering structured children’s sessions to promote constructive play, health and wellbeing and positive behaviour.

Gemma Alderson, team leader at Ashkirk said: “The family fun day is a very important day for us because it is the main source of fundraising for the provision of children’s sessions which are invaluable to the children of the families that we support.

“The gardens play an important part in the day. However it is a big project for the staff to undertake and we are very grateful to the staff at EDF Energy for undertaking the work on the grounds.”

The EDF Energy Helping Hands scheme allows its employees to take paid days off to carry out voluntary work within the local community.