O2 staff at Bury are this week celebrating the end of a year of fundraising that has brought in £29,000 for MacMillan and Bury Crossroads as part of the company’s It’s Your Community Programme.

Led by Community Crew, the 1,400 plus staff at the customer service centre in Dumers Lane, carried out a wide range of activities from diving with sharks to summer fun days and were so passionate about their chosen charity that they achieved well over their original target of £20,000. The programme they raised funds for is a joint initiative between MacMillan and Bury Crossroads.. This helps carers take a break and have some time for themselves. The amount raised by O2 staff will provide 1,800 hours of extra support.

Staff celebrated with a MacMillan Day on yesterday (Wednesday, April 29, 2009) when they each received one of their favourite doughnuts and handed over a cheque to Rose Tipton, MacMillan fundraising manager.

Intrepid dad of three, Steve Smithson, aged 34, of Oswaldtwistle, went diving with sharks at the Blue Planet in Ellesmere Port to raise £700 towards the total. “One of the sharks was 12 feet long so it certainly got the adrenalin going,” said Steve whose aunt, Mary Smithson, is a MacMillan nurse in Blackburn.

“I know through her what great work MacMillan does for families,” said Steve. He was also one of four male managers who crossed the “ouch” threshold by having their legs waxed in front of amused colleagues, raising nearly £500.

Tracey Newman, who is senior operations manager at O2 and chair of the Community Crew, said staff had become really involved and inspired by the work of MacMillan.

“In addition to fundraising, the crew worked tirelessly with Bury Crossroads and Macmillan to do gardening and decorating in the homes of local cancer patients. This really helped make a difference to people including one lady who wanted her house to look nice for friends and family visiting over Christmas. The community team and other employees did the decorating in one day and the result was great.

“It has been a phenomenal year with every area of the site taking part to support the charity. Being a carer is a vital and demanding role. It is great to think that the money we have raised will help provide carers with that valuable break and that all the money will be spent on local people.”

The Bury site recently fought off stiff competition from other large businesses to win the Call Northwest Business in the Community Award in recognition of the many local community projects in which O2 staff get involved.

The decision to support local projects marks a change in the way O2 raises funds for charity. Having previously worked with a single UK charity partner, the company decided in 2008 to give staff at its five main sites, including Bury, the opportunity to raise cash for a charity of their choice in their local area.

O2 also invites groups, organisations and charities to apply for awards ranging from £100 to £1000 to make a difference within communities. To date, over £1 million has been donated to over 1,500 projects across the UK. To find out more and apply visit www.itsyourcommunity.co.uk

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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