Salford company AJ Bell and the Sharks Community Trust, the charitable arm of Sale Sharks rugby club, have joined forces to distribute food to local families with school age children ahead of the Easter holidays, some of which will be provided by FareShare GM.
The ‘AJ Bell Easter Eats’ initiative will give families a helping hand over the Easter period, with each hamper containing a mixture of fresh and long-life produce as well as a holiday activity pack from mental health charity Place2Be. Easter eggs will also be distributed via local schools as part of the project.
Easter Eats is the latest initiative to be funded by AJ Bell’s ‘Wage War on COVID’ fund, which was set up to support people directly impacted by the crisis. £380,000 has been raised through donations from AJ Bell staff, customers, financial advisers and the general public.
The fund initially donated £30,000 to local food charities at the outset of the pandemic, including a £15,000 grant to FareShare GM.
Families with school age children have been amongst the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic. They have had to get to grips with home schooling whilst many of them have seen their incomes reduce or disappear completely. The AJ Bell Easter Eats initiative is designed to give these families a helping hand in the run up to the Easter holidays, after which they can hopefully look forward to further easing of lockdown restrictions and life returning to some level of normality.
Andy Bell, Chief Executive of AJ Bell
AJ Bell also donated over 600 digital tablets to care homes and hospitals around the UK to help residents stay in touch with loved ones during lockdown, and a further 140 to OnSide Youth Zones to support summer holiday clubs and help re-engage young people with education in the run up to schools reopening in September 2020.
Meanwhile, Sale Sharks – who play at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford – have been hard at work during the pandemic to support vulnerable people in Manchester.
In December, the club launched a campaign to support homeless charity CentrePoint, which was inspired by a chance meeting between winger Marland Yarde and a young homeless man. Marland himself also hand delivered a van load of winter clothing donated by the club’s players and staff to CentrePoint and organised a delivery of hot meals to the charity’s hostels in January.
The club, and the Trust, are committed to supporting the communities that we live and work in, and this project with AJ Bell is a perfect way to do that, at a time when many families need extra help. It has been such a challenging time for so many people and this year, more than ever, it’s so important that we do our bit to help.
Alison Warwood, executive director of the Sharks Community Trust
AJ Bell and the Sharks Community Trust are now working with local schools in and around Salford to identify families that could benefit from the Easter Eats initiative.
Demand for food has never been higher in the communities we serve and, thanks to the support of partners such as AJ Bell and Sharks Community Trust, we have doubled the amount of food we distribute each week in response to the crisis. Unfortunately the reality is that the hard work is far from over – 90% of the charities we serve say demand will either remain the same as crisis levels or increase – so we welcome AJ Bell’s continued efforts to help FareShare and other charities get good food onto the people who need it most.
Miranda Kaunang, Head of Development at FareShare GM