Expect to see cycling challenges, cake sales and bucket shaking aplenty as Govia Thameslink Railway staff from Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express throw their weight behind three vital charities following a company-wide vote.
Hundreds of staff across the business voted for causes close to their hearts for the company to formally support for coming two years. Choosing from a shortlist of seven drawn up from 24 nominations, the charities represent the new pillars that GTR is focusing on - young people, mental health and homelessness.
In the young people category, For Jimmy was victorious. This Lewisham-based organisation seeks to provide safe places in local communities to help protect young people from gang violence. For Jimmy was founded in 2009 by Barry and Margaret Mizen after their son Jimmy was murdered in May 2008 near their home in Lee, south east London.
GTR Apprentice Specialist David Jackson nominated For Jimmy. He said: “They’re a small charity and they do an awful lot for the community, not just in London but all over the UK. They support young people and educate them about not turning to crime.”
Mind was the winning mental health charity as chosen by staff. This charity supported 425,000 people last year and has a network of about 130 Local Mind centres, which offer advice and support in their local communities, such as talking therapies, crisis care, and housing support.
Communications co-ordinator Sandra Lopez nominated Mind. She said; “I am delighted that GTR colleagues have chosen to support Mind as mental health is an issue that is very close to my heart. Good mental health is not always a given and there are many people who find it difficult to cope with everything that life throws at them. Often it’s just about taking that first step and telling someone that you need help.”
The worthy winner in GTR’s homelessness category was Luton-based NOAH Enterprise, which runs a welfare centre all year round and provides hot meals to people who have fallen on hard times. In the last year, NOAH has received 435 new referrals, provided 17,273 lunches, 6,111 breakfasts and 7,472 soups. NOAH’s selection as a corporate charity formalises the partnership work between the charity and GTR over recent years.
Joe Healy, who is Station Manager for Harpenden and Luton Airport Parkway, was behind the nomination for NOAH. He said: “What they’re trying to achieve is absolutely fantastic. They’re a lifeline for people in need and try, and help people get their independence back. I was so excited to find out they had become one of our corporate charities.”
GTR Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Verwer, said: “I am very pleased that our people have chosen these three charities. All are well deserving causes and GTR’s support for the coming two years will hopefully make a real difference. I cannot wait to see the creative fundraising in action
GTR’s corporate social responsibility manager Katherine Cox said of the new charities: “It is a key part of our CSR strategy that we support causes that our teams are passionate about and that help us to make a real change to wider society. For the charities who haven’t made our shortlist we will be making a £50 donation to each organisation directly to show our support.”
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Quotes from GTR’s newly adopted charities:
Barry and Margaret Mizen said: “We would like to thank the staff of GTR that have nominated For Jimmy as one of their chosen charities. We are deeply humbled to receive recognition of the work we do in trying to create safer communities and can assure all the staff that your trust in us will prove beneficial to many young people. We are looking forward to a great partnership with the staff of GTR.”
Rebecca Hastings, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Mind, said “We’re very grateful to everyone at GTR for choosing to support Mind. It’s great to hear about some of the fantastic ways staff intend to fundraise and collect donations. The money raised will help to fund Mind’s vital work including the Mind Infoline, our advice services and the campaigning Mind does to secure a better deal for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.”
NOAH Enterprise Chief Executive Jim O’Connor MBE said: “I am delighted that the relationship that has developed between our organisations, and by which those who so much need our support have benefitted, is to continue over the next two years. We are honoured and blessed to be chosen as your homeless charity partner and I wish to thank all concerned at Govia Thameslink Railway. The local GTR team in Bedfordshire and surrounds have been tremendously generous in their creative fundraising and in giving of their time in other ways such as serving lunch to our people. Thank you.”
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria