Getting wrapped up in giving - colleagues support families at home and abroad

shoe box collection co-ordinators Sharon Stewart (left) and Clare Lavery


More than 150 shoe boxes full of gifts are winging their way to deprived communities across Europe to put festive smiles on the faces of families.

Employees at Northumbrian Water have carried out fundraising throughout the year to buy toys, clothes and other gifts, before packing them into 153 boxes and delivering them to the charity, Samaritan’s Purse.

The collection follows a tradition at Northumbrian Water, spanning more than a decade, where employees support such communities with Christmas packages. This year’s collections are being delivered to families in Bosnia, Romania and Belarus.

Volunteers from Northumbrian Water also joined those from Samaritan’s Purse in the charity’s Consett warehouse, helping to ensure the packages were despatched.

For the third year, colleagues have also been supporting the North East charity FACT – Fighting All Cancers Together, buying gifts to be given to families, spreading a little Christmas cheer.

A total of 29 families and individuals are receiving gifts this year, taking the total to 80 across the three years. Teams throughout the company each “adopted” a family, selecting gifts to suit the individual recipients.

Sharon Stewart, Customer Team Leader at Northumbrian Water, has been co-ordinating the shoe box collection effort, alongside colleague Clare Laverick, for the last nine years.

She said: “Christmas is a special time of year, but we appreciate that for some families and communities – at home and abroad - it is not always the case that it is as full of festive cheer as many of us are lucky enough to enjoy.

“Colleagues across the business are passionate about supporting people who are having a tough time, so, even though we have only just handed across the shoe boxes for this Christmas, people are planning fundraising that will allow us to buy gifts for next year.”

Samaritan’s Purse is an international relief and development organisation that works through local churches to support communities in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

David Arbon, Lead Volunteer at Samaritan’s Purse’s warehouse in Consett, said: “The team of volunteers at the warehouse in Consett were delighted to have the additional help of staff from Northumbrian Water and they made a significant contribution to the collecting, processing and cartoning of nearly 11,000 shoe boxes which have been sent to very deprived children in Bosnia, Romania and Belarus. This is in addition to the shoe boxes which were lovingly prepared by staff at Northumbrian Water."

For further media information, contact Paul White on 0191 3015325.

Northumbrian Water Limited supplies 2.7 million customer in the North East with both water and sewerage services, trading as Northumbrian Water, and 1.8 million customers in the South East with water services, trading as Essex & Suffolk Water.

In the most recent survey by the Consumer Council for Water, Northumbrian Water was named the UK’s most trusted water company by its customers. 2016 also saw Northumbrian Water named the world’s most ethical water company for the sixth successive year.

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