Hartlepool businessman hopes to help sick and needy kids

HERE TO HELP: Rob Collier pictured with UK Steel Enterprise's Joan Cook

HERE TO HELP: Rob Collier pictured with UK Steel Enterprise's Joan Cook

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A BUSINESS boss with two successful firms has taken out a third office - so he can help sick and under-privileged children.

Rob Collier already runs both @thirteen and Advanced Retail Solutions which are based in the Innovation Centre on the Queens Meadow Business Park in Hartlepool.

But now he has taken out a third space to run a registered charity called Children of the North. Rob’s aim is to help underprivileged, sick and needy children in Hartlepool and across the region.

As a father himself (he has a son River aged 6, and a 15 week old daughter Mila and is married to Danielle) it has made him even more aware of the help that is needed. Rob said: “It would be fantastic if we could raise £1m this year, it’s an ambitious goal but we’re going to give it a go.”

The charity already has ideas in the pipeline including a Skydive in April and a Calais to Paris bike ride. “We are going to be doing lots of events,” he said.

And Rob explained more about his aims. “The plan is to do as much as we can on our home turf. We are not going to be a global charity. We want to concentrate on local problems.”

His aim is to help children who may need hospital treatment, children in local hospices, youngster who would benefit from operations and equipment. Rob plans to take on volunteers to help run Children of the North which has already been registered as a charity.

Rob first moved into the Innovation Centre when he set up Advanced Retail Solutions two years ago. Then, he launched @thirteen to provide top quality catering at the Centre, which is home to more than 40 young businesses.

Peter Taylor, the area manager with UK Steel Enterprise which runs the Innovation Centre, said: “Rob is already running two very successful businesses from our Innovation Centre and it is great to see him willing to devote his time and money to help children who are in need.”