SPAR retailers in the North of England who supported Marie Curie Nurses with over one million items of PPE during the pandemic have been thanked by the charity.
At the peak of the pandemic, 93 SPAR stores owned or serviced by James Hall & Co. Ltd became PPE access points where Marie Curie Nurses in Northern England could collect PPE free and easily from the community where they lived.
The successful initiative has come to an end after two years, and during that time, 190 Marie Curie Nurses were supported with PPE through SPAR stores ensuring that they could continue to provide first class end of life care and support to people with terminal illness, and their families.
Marie Curie’s Head of Corporate Partnerships Tom Heron and Senior Partnership Manager Megan Townshend personally thanked SPAR Northern Guild member Phil Bridge and highest independent SPAR fundraiser for the North of England, Nigel Masters, on a visit to James Hall.
Marie Curie is SPAR UK’s principal charity partner and all SPAR retailers in the North of England who participated in the PPE initiative will be receiving tailored thank you certificates.
Warehouse staff at James Hall & Co. Ltd’s SPAR Distribution Centre at Bowland View in Preston, which served as the hub for PPE distribution, will also be receiving recognition for their efforts.
Nigel Masters said: “We are always very keen to support Marie Curie’s key fundraising initiatives so supporting the PPE scheme was a natural step for us.
“Our loyal customers are also incredibly generous throughout the year with donations into the Marie Curie buckets at the till, and that consistently means we raise a substantial amount for this fantastic charity.”
Phil Bridge said: “I was really pleased to open my stores up to be PPE access points for Marie Curie Nurses as we all had to pull together during the pandemic in what was an unusual time for everyone.
“Marie Curie is a charity that is there for anyone, and thanks to the kind-heartedness of the communities in Clitheroe and Blackburn where I have my stores, I was delighted to be able to hand over a large amount of fundraising to Tom and Megan during their visit.”
Megan Townshend said: “The pandemic was a critical time for our work as a charity and it was of paramount importance that our Marie Curie Nurses could access PPE locally to enable them to continue their work.
“We know that SPAR stores were extremely busy during the pandemic serving their local communities, so we are extremely grateful and thankful to retailers who were open to embracing the PPE initiative enabling our Nurses to get hold of PPE when they needed to.”
As well as supporting Marie Curie’s main fundraising appeals during the year, including the Great Daffodil Appeal and the Blooming Great Tea Party, James Hall supports the UK’s leading end of life care charity through a sandwich initiative too.
One penny from every SPAR sandwich or wrap sold in a store in a SPAR store in Northern England goes to Marie Curie, and donations from sales hit the £250,000 milestone in 2022.
Harvey Beardsworth, a Marshaller who works in the warehouse at Bowland View, loaded the last of the PPE parcels onto orders as the initiative came to an end.
He said: “It’s a great feeling that as a business we support end of life care with Marie Curie, and it is nice to celebrate the partnership with SPAR.
“I’m glad to have played a small part in the PPE scheme through my role. I also help load up thousands of sandwiches onto lorries every week, and I like to get a SPAR sandwich myself at lunchtime, so to know I am contributing to the effort is doubly satisfying.”
Mark Clayden, Logistics Director at James Hall & Co. Ltd, said: “The end of the PPE initiative marks the end of a chapter and I think it has strengthened the partnership between SPAR and Marie Curie.
“The pandemic saw us both take our support to the communities that we serve to a new level and I look forward to the future between SPAR and Marie Curie.”
James Hall & Co. Ltd serves a network of independent SPAR retailers and company-owned SPAR stores across Northern England six days a week from its base at Bowland View in Preston.
You can find out more about James Hall & Co. Ltd at www.jameshall.co.uk.