STAFF and customers from the Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons have smashed through the £500,000 funding barrier just five months into a charity partnership with Sue Ryder care.
The figure signals the most successful start to a charitable appeal in the company's 115-year history.
Sue Ryder is using the money to pay for new community services and family support teams across the UK, alongside an online support network where families affected by end-of-life care issues can receive dedicated support and advice 24-hours a day.
Heidi Travis, chief executive at Sue Ryder, which runs the Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope, said: “We’re thrilled that our partnership with Morrisons has got off to such a great start.
"With the support of customers and colleagues, we will be able to give even more people the care they want at the end of their lives and crucially, provide support for their families.
“The money raised so far will go a long way in helping us to do this, and I’d like to thank everyone at Morrisons for raising such a fantastic amount.”
Stores across the country have held hundreds of fundraising events to support the Raise a Smile partnership, including Britain's Got Talent parties and a variety of sporting challenges to celebrate this summer's packed calendar of international events.
Staff based at Morrisons' head office, at Hilmore House on Gain Lane, Bradford, recently took part in a sponsored skydive in Nottinghamshire to raise more than £3,000 for the appeal, with others having their hair shaved into weird and wacky designs to boost the total further.
Martyn Jones, group corporate services director at Morrisons, said: “By raising £500,000 in just five months, Morrisons colleagues and customers have shown just how much they are behind our partnership with Sue Ryder.
“The new healthcare services being funded by the partnership will ensure that nobody feels abandoned and alone at a time when they desperately need support.
"We’re incredibly proud to be involved in a partnership that will make such a lasting difference to thousands of families across the UK."
As well as raising money, Sue Ryder and Morrisons have worked together on several initiatives to celebrate the partnership, including an offer where people received a voucher for a free hot drink in a Morrisons café if they spent over £10 in a Sue Ryder shop.
Hundreds of Morrisons stores also took part in Sue Ryder’s Wanted campaign, with colleagues donating bags of unwanted items to the charity’s shops.
For more information on the 'Raise a Smile' partnership, call 0800 949 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations of £3 can also be made by texting 'SMILE' to 70213.