Staff from across the Southern and Gatwick Express rail networks have raised over £2,300 in seven days for Eastbourne-based charity Embrace, the staff’s own choice as the company’s good cause. The charity helps disabled children be embraced in their local community.
The rail staff got involved in a host of activities during National Small Charities Week to raise this donation. Their week kicked off with four members of the Brighton-based Rail Enforcement Team setting themselves the challenge of cycling 500 miles on two static exercise bikes in 12 hours. On the hottest day of the year at that time, the four sweated and cycled as they crunched the miles and raised over £750 from passenger donations.
Later in the week, the two brands also took each other on in a "cycle the distance" challenge to see who could cycle the furthest on the exercise bikes and collect the most donations from passengers across the three-hour evening peak. The challenge was hotly contested (as well as being genuinely hot, owing to the weather), with great support from each area, and saw the Southern team at Eastbourne notch up an impressive 96 kilometres to beat the Gatwick Express team. However, Gatwick passengers really got behind the cause helping the team there to raise almost £300 within the time.
Other events through the week included a raffle for staff, a pub quiz, and "guess the number of lollies in a jar," alongside the company donation of 10p for every train arriving within a minute of its scheduled timetable, and was rounded off with a 5-a-side football tournament.
Charles Horton, CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway, operator of Southern and the Gatwick Express said, "At GTR, we are committed to supporting local charities across our network. Embrace is a cause that our staff are passionate about and it's wonderful to see so many of them go out of their way to help raise much needed funds. A donation of over £2,300 is an excellent result for the hard work of our teams and I would also like to pass on my thanks to everyone who volunteered their own time to help raise this money."
Rebecca Whippy, Chairperson and Advocate for the charity, said, "I am delighted at the amount raised and so grateful to everyone at Southern for their continued hard work, passion and enthusiasm in fundraising for Embrace this year. The work they have carried out has been outstanding and has helped us manage to sustain the huge demand for our services that we have experienced over the last few years. I can't tell you how much this means to me and everyone at Team Embrace."
Embrace was chosen by staff as the company's corporate charity as part of the last employee survey. It was nominated by Su Rogers, Station Sales Clerk at Moulscoomb, in recognition of all the support the charity has given her and her son over the years.
Since then, staff and the company have come up with a variety of ways to support the cause and so far, raised over £10,000 for the charity.