Store staff in Blackhall and Hartlepool raised £1,500 for crisis charity

Michael Johnson (front left) and fellow walkers before they take part in their event to raise funds for The Trussell Trust.  Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Johnson (front left) and fellow walkers before they take part in their event to raise funds for The Trussell Trust. Picture by FRANK REID

Big hearted staff from a major store chain took part in a 14 mile walk to raise funds for local food banks.

Twenty McColl’s staff put on their trainers and walked to ten branches of the store to raise £1,500 for The Trussell Trust.

Charity walker Michael Johnson with a sponsor form. Picture by FRANK REID

Charity walker Michael Johnson with a sponsor form. Picture by FRANK REID

Staff kicked off their walk from the store on the Coast Road in Blackhall on Saturday in support of the charity - which operates a network of food banks providing emergency food and support to people in crisis.
Michael Johnson, 45, area manager of the store in Blackhall, was delighted with the cash raised.

He said: “It went really well.

“We set off from the store in Blackhall and visited nine other McColl’s stores in total on our route.

“There were 20 people who took part in the walk - with 11 completing the 14 mile route from start to finish.
“A few people came in fancy dress and along the way there were lots of cars tooting and shouting words of encouragement - so it was good fun.

Charity walker Michael Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID

Charity walker Michael Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID

“A couple of people had their Fitbits on and said that we covered 31,000 steps.

“We managed to raise £1,500 from sponsorship.”

Research from the Trussell Trust showed that food bank use across the UK continues to increase.

The charity said it has seen a 6.6% increase since 2015 to 2016.

From the period 2016 to 2017, The Trussell Trust’s Food Bank Network provided 1,182,954 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis compared to 1,109,309 in 2015-16.

They say issues with benefit payments remain the biggest cause of referral to a Trussell Trust food bank - accounting for 43% of all referrals.

McColl’s staff decided to back the charity after the senior management team - made up of Michael and his colleagues Andrew Hadley and Rob Dunn - were challenged to come up with a fundraising idea.

Michael added: “McColl’s has four key values, and one is to be a community champion so we decided to fundraise for the Trussell Trust.

“The charity was delighted with the amount and we are now putting food collection points in out stores in Hartlepool as part of a trial.”