18 February 2008 – Staff at O2’s contact centre in Preston Brook will be raising funds for a new environmental reserve at Fox Wood School in Warrington over the next year. Since the start of the year staff at the Preston Brook offices have been nominating charities and voting for which one they want to support throughout the year. Four projects were short-listed – Leigh Best Eating Disorders Group, The Peace Centre, Warrington and Widness Society for the Blind and Fox Wood School – and over 820 O2 staff voted for their favourite. Fox Wood School was the winner with 45%. As the O2 community project for the year the school will be able to transform an area of derelict and waterlogged land into a multi sensory education area which will allow pupils and the local community to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the environment. Thanks to a sale of old and disused phones by O2’s Value Development Team last week the team in Preston Brook have already raised over £1200, well on the way towards the £15,000 target. Ann McCracken, who heads up the O2 fundraising Community Crew on site, said: “I am delighted that we will be supporting Fox Wood School over the coming year and I know our staff are excited about getting on with raising as much cash as they can for the project. Working with a local project makes the result of fundraising even more special, but we are also looking forward to rolling our sleeves up and becoming directly involved in the project as well. “Deciding which project to work with was extremely hard and I would like to wish all the finalists every success. I am sure the £1000 donation we have given to each runner up organisation will help them towards making their plans a reality.” Lesley Roberts, from, Fox Wood School said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by the employees at Preston Brook, all the pupils at the school are looking forward to the completion of our Outdoor Environmental area and all that it will have to offer.” The decision to support a local project marks a step change in the way O2 raises funds for charity. For the past three years the company have worked with a single UK charity partner but decided to give staff at its five main sites across the country the opportunity to raise cash for a charity of their choice, in their local area. The Big Site Project aims to raise up to £15,000 towards the environmental centre and is part of the wider It’s Your Community programme, which allows groups, organisations and charities to apply for awards ranging from £100 to £1000 to make a difference within communities. As part of the decision process each of the runner-up projects were given a £1,000 It’s Your Community award as recognition of their fantastic project. For every online and text vote cast O2 gave a donation of 50p to the chosen project. – ends –

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