July 17, 2020 @ 17:58 by Alison Cowie
Entrepreneur Helen McArdle has donated £50,000 to help North East babies, children and young people in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
At the start of lockdown, Children North East, the region’s oldest independent children’s charity, launched an urgent appeal to ensure its work could continue during the pandemic.
This generous gift from the successful businesswoman and philanthropist, along with other donations from businesses, community organisations and individual members of the public, means the appeal pot now stands at £75,000.
Helen McArdle is best known for her work in the North East’s care industry having founded Helen McArdle Care and a chain of nurseries.
In 2017, she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the North East Business Executive of the Year Awards, and in 2015 was awarded a CBE for services to the care home industry and the local community.
She said: “I have supported Children North East for many years and have always been impressed by the help and support they have given children and families.
“When the pandemic hit, I knew it would have a devastating impact on the charity and the children in the region, so I was keen to get involved and help the team to meet the increasing need for their services.
“It has been so positive to hear about the work that Children North East has been able to continue to deliver during the lockdown. While under immense pressure, they have still been able to reach the children who desperately need them.”
In response to Covid-19, the charity has launched a number of new services alongside its established provision including 1000 activity packs to help children learn at home, the launch of a ‘Computers for Kids’ campaign aimed at getting tablets to pupils unable to access schoolwork, and a new seven-days-a-week domestic abuse helpline in response to an increased incidence of violence within the home during lockdown.
Leigh Elliott, interim chief executive for Children North East, said the donation was hugely welcome in the current climate.
“Like many charities, we have had to postpone or cancel most of our fundraising events this year, yet at the same time there has been an increased demand for the kind of support we provide.
“This is why we launched our urgent appeal with the aim of raising £250,000 in order to combat the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on disadvantaged children. We are so grateful to Helen and all of the people who have donated to our appeal so far as it will help sustain our organisation at a difficult time and enable us to be there for babies, children, young people and their families in the uncertain months and years ahead.”
Anybody wishing to donate £5 to the appeal can text HOPE to 70490 – texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message or by visiting www.children-ne.org.uk/urgent-appeal