Kind hearted staff at one of the country’s leading contact centre and fulfilment specialists, Spark Response, helped raise £11,000 for two regional charities in 2012 and an additional £1,000 for Sport Relief.

Every year employees at Gateshead-based Spark take part in a series of fundraising events to support good causes across the North East and have raised over £45,000 since they started in 2005.

This year staff chose to donate to the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle and Houghton-le-Spring charity 4Louis, which supports bereaved families who have suffered the heartbreak of a stillbirth. The £11,000 raised by Spark at their annual funday, a stock sale and other staff initiatives is being split between the two charities.

A further £1,000 was raised in aid of Sport Relief, which Spark Response supported by taking donations from the public during the live, celebrity-packed event.

Lisa Corfield from the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle: “Marie Curie Cancer Care is thrilled with the success of Spark’s fundraising campaigns throughout 2012. Staff sales and family fundays are great examples of innovation that help us raise much needed funds.

“All of the money kindly raised by the staff at Spark will help us to provide vital support to families when they need it most at Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle. We were also very grateful to all the staff who volunteered to make over our hospice gardens. Their hard work helped us to win a Northumbria in Bloom award.

“We would like to thank all involved and we hope the staff at Spark found the partnership as fun and rewarding as we did.”
Spark employee Michael Stoker, a customer service advisor, nominated 4Louis as one of the company’s chosen charities as it was set up by a friend of his, Kirsty McGurrell, whose son was stillborn in 2009.

Kirsty McGurrell, founder of 4Louis: “This is the biggest single amount we have been given without having to do anything. We won funds from the Drive Benfield campaign recently, but there were months of campaigning involved in drumming up votes. This amount means so much to us as a small team of three and will allow us to make so many of our Keepsake Boxes.”
Michael, who is also from Houghton, said: “I really admire what Kirsty and the team does for bereaved parents. She used her grief as a focus to help other parents who have been through the trauma of a stillbirth and I felt 4Louis deserved to be nominated, not only to raise funds to support their efforts but to also increase awarenes of what a wonderful charity it is.”

The Keepsake Boxes are available to bereaved parents so they can store memories of their baby and include a clay impression kit to capture the baby’s and feet, teddy bears, a card so the family can write a letter or poem and a candle.

Edward Duffy, HR Manager at Spark Response, said: “Every year our staff go above and beyond what’s expected of them to support charities such as Marie Curie and 4Louis, who rely on donations from local businesses and the public to continue to provide the excellent service which helps so many people.
“The £11,000 raised during 2012 is the most we’ve ever reached and is real testament to the spirit of our workforce. Since 2005 we’ve raised over £46,000 for local charities which is fantastic and I have to say, I’m incredibly proud of everyone. The importance of that money to the good causes we’ve supported cannot be underestimated so well done to everyone for making it possible.”

“Some of our staff also raised funds throughout the year that got donated direct to the charities via JustGiving, so it truly has been a great year packed with fundraising activities”.
In addition to fundraising, staff and managers at Spark also supported good causes in a number of other ways, including a two-day stint helping out with gardening work in the grounds of the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle, and supporting the Foundation of Light’s Back In The Game programme, which aims to help get local people back to work. A number of managers conducted mock job interviews both at the Stadium of Light and on site at Spark to provide real-life exposure and experience to the programme’s members.

Spark also raised £1,000 for Sport Relief back in March, as well as provding 90 call handlers to take pledges on the night.