Christmas carries on thanks to Sunderland businesses

Sunderland Business Group chairman, Gary Hutchinson

Sunderland Business Group chairman, Gary Hutchinson

Firms across Sunderland are carrying the seasonal goodwill into the New Year with a charity drive to recycle unwanted Christmas gifts.

Named in honour of the traditional home-made knitted gift from aunties and grandmothers, #JanuaryJumpers will see Sunderland Business Group Partners collect unwanted presents from smiley-Santa sweaters to radio-controlled race cars, six packs of socks to big blue bath bombs, bobble hats to biscuit barrels…whatever people don’t want, a good home will be found for it.

Businesses are working with the Salvation Army, but have also thrown out an invitation for other charities which support homeless people, the elderly, children and those in sheltered accommodation, who may be able to recycle these much-appreciated, but ultimately unwanted presents.

Sunderland Business Group chairman, Gary Hutchinson, said: “Part of what makes Sunderland great is how caring and generous our people are. As such, we want to extend Christmas into 2016 with #JanuaryJumpers, which aims to scoop up the gifts that will sit at the back of wardrobes, find their way into the corners of garages and end up in lofts across Wearside and put them to good use.

“Please support this push to help those less fortunate and let’s make sure all those #JanuaryJumpers find their way to people who will appreciate them the most.”

Christine Ritchie, centre manager, of the Salvation Army, said: “We are delighted to work with some of Sunderland’s most recognisable businesses to bring some much-needed winter cheer to people who maybe did not receive very much at Christmas.

“The smallest gift can provide the largest benefit and I applaud our city’s businesses for thinking about those less fortunate at this time of year.”

Gary Hutchinson with Salvation Army’s Craig Hilton and Sonia Ritchie.

Gary Hutchinson with Salvation Army’s Craig Hilton and Sonia Ritchie.

Some of Sunderland Business Group’s founding partners, Gentoo (Doxford International), Sunderland AFC (Black Cat House), The Bridges shopping centre, as well as Creo Communications (Sunderland Software Centre, Tavistock Place) and Ashmore Consulting (Evolve Centre, Rainton Bridge) will be setting-up “drop zones” for people to leave gifts.

These will be collected and delivered to The Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge, in Sunderland City Centre.

#JanuaryJumpers is launched as charity Waste Watch warned that throwing away new items, even to be recycled, was a waste of the resources used to make them in the first place.

It recommends arranging “give and take” days at work or donating to charities as preferable means of getting rid of unwanted goods.

Gary added: “This campaign will be supported by a substantial social media push. If you don’t have any unwanted gifts, please support the campaign by sharing, RT-ing and generally offering us your online assistance to share the message about #JanuaryJumpers.”

For more information on the campaign and to find out where “drop zones” are situated, please visit: http://sunderlandvibe.com/january-jumpers/

Sunderland Business Group was set up to create a feel-good factor in Sunderland, bringing together businesses in the city to work collaboratively and promote it as a great place to live, work, study, do business and visit.

For more information about the Sunderland Business Group’s partnership scheme, contact Ashmore Consulting at mark.hodgson@ashmoreconsulting.co.uk or by calling 0191 500 8585.

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