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BGF to donate GBP100,000 across eight UK and Irish charities impacted by coronavirus pandemic

BGF has announced that it will make donations totalling GBP100,000 to support local community-based charities across the UK & Ireland following the onset of Coronavirus. Covid-19 has created immense challenges, especially for vulnerable groups. As a regional business, active in different local economies, BGF says recognises the need for increased support to local charities, many of whom are operating without the safety nets of their broader networks. It is estimated that fundraising for UK charities may fall as much as 40 per cent in 2020.

BGF’s regional teams have worked closely together to identify charities in each of the following territories: London & South East, South West, Midlands, North of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland.  

Recipient charities include: 

• Pieta House (Ireland) – a suicide prevention charity which is experiencing increased demand due to Covid-19. Compared to last year, Pieta House has received a 49% increase in calls to its helpline and 46% increase in text messages seeking the service. 

• Acorns Children’s Hospice (Midlands) – Acorns provides babies, children and young people aged 0 – 18 years who have life limiting or life-threatening conditions and associated complex needs with a network of specialist palliative nursing care and support. 

• Free to Be (London & South East) – a London based charity, Free to Be supports disadvantaged children through outdoor residential projects and mentoring. Free to Be believe that giving children a chance to feel valued and conquer their fears, is particularly therapeutic for inner-city kids who need support building self-esteem and staying resilient during adversity. 

• Befriend a Child (Scotland) – this charity supports disadvantaged and troubled school- aged children and young people growing up in and around Aberdeen. The charity pairs befrienders with vulnerable children who are from a difficult and disadvantaged background to offer that child some time every week to spend doing things that the child wants to do and enjoy.  

• Northern Ireland Hospice (Northern Ireland) – Northern Ireland Hospice is a local charity offering specialist respite, symptom management and end of life palliative care to 4,000 infants, children and adults each year across Northern Ireland. 

• Alexander Divine Children’s Hospice (South West) – Alexander Devine provide essential support to families of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions across Berkshire and the surrounding counties. The Hospice is currently facing a significant shortage of funding due to Covid-19 (98 per cent).
• Llamau (Wales) – is the leading homelessness charity in Wales, supporting the most vulnerable young people and women. It is particularly well known for working with those most at risk in society. 

• Variety – The Children’s Charity (North) – In the UK there are more than 1.3 million disabled children and young people and nearly four million children living in poverty. Variety, the Children’s Charity exists to improve the lives of these children. It provides practical, tangible help that makes an immediate difference to children, young people, parents, siblings and teachers.

BGF will work with these registered charities that are focused on supporting vulnerable groups within local communities.

BGF’s regional teams have worked closely together to identify charities in each of the following territories: London & South East, South West, Midlands, North of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland. 

Stephen Welton, CEO of BGF, says: “This is a deeply unsettling and challenging time for all, and in particular for the most vulnerable groups within our society, who are often out of sight. Many charities that exist to help these groups are unable to fundraise in their usual way due to disruption within the networks they rely on for support. The impact will be devastating. We recognise that, with the support of our shareholders, BGF is in a fortunate position to be able to do more and significantly extend our charitable donations to assist with the urgent need around the country.
“BGF was created with local proximity, with dedicated offices in nearly every region across the UK in order to support businesses that employ and invest in local communities – we are now utilising that same infrastructure and reach to provide support to charities and vulnerable groups in this trying time. Our 16 offices around the country have worked together to identify charities that are delivering vital work in their communities.

“The UK faces a demanding road back to recovery, both as individuals and as an economy, and the challenges created by the current crisis will be felt for a very long time, especially within our regions across the country. We hope that this funding will help to support the needs of some of those vulnerable groups and make a difference in the longer term.”

Alongside and allied with this donation, and in recognition of the importance of the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of its own team at this time, BGF will also move forward its annual Atlas Go! challenge. The one-month challenge will engage more than 170 employees across BGF, allocated into cross-regional teams, to take part in their daily exercise, albeit in very different circumstances and surroundings, from running and walking, to meditation and yoga. Volunteering will also be a central part of the challenge, encouraging and providing support beyond the funding.
Welton says: “I am also pleased that we will be moving forward with our Atlas Go! challenge earlier than planned this year. This had a huge impact across BGF in 2019 and we want to do all we can to help our teams remain connected with each other, and active, during the period of staying at home. When we exit lockdown, clearly, we need to think and act differently, but at heart we are all communal and a sense of teamwork is going to be more important than ever.”

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