Twenty teams from some of the North East’s top companies took part in a five-a-side football tournament to help local families affected by autism.
The money they raised will buy equipment for four new specially-designed lodges – being built by the North East Autism Society (NEAS) – to provide vital respite breaks.
The NEAS was chosen by staff at the Newcastle based office of Concept to benefit from its major charity event of the year, the Concept Cup, which was held at Goals Newcastle and raised nearly £5000.
The charity already offers the free use of two lodges at its centre near Burnhope in County Durham, but is struggling to meet the demand of an increasing number of people affected by autism.
Its events fundraiser Sophie Clarke said: “We are so grateful to Concept and all the businesses who took part in the Concept Cup. The money raised will make a huge difference to the lives of many people in the North East. A break from the often very difficult challenges of everyday life is so valuable.”
Each year the charity supports more than 400 children, young people and adults affected by autism or other disabilities.
“There is an overwhelming demand for our current two lodges,” said Sophie. “Without building and equipping more, we would have soon been in a position where demand outstrips our ability to supply placements – meaning that individuals and families who are eligible for support miss out on the opportunity for much needed services.” The new lodges are due to be ready later this year.
Stewart Hunter, the sales manager of Concept – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xerox – said: “When we heard about the work of the NEAS we were determined to do all we could to help. Not only have we helped to raise money, I’m sure everybody who took part in the Concept Cup now has a greater understanding of the challenges faced by so many North East families.”
In the fourth and biggest Concept Cup, Stewart’s team lost 2-1 in the semi-final to Northumbrian Water who beat two-time winners Utilitywise 5-2 in the final.
Other teams taking part represented businesses including Razorblue, Lloyds Bank, Mincoffs, NCFE, Wrights Motors and the Commissioners Quay Inn from Blyth.
Proceeds from last year’s Concept Cup bought two special trampolines for a new Rebound Therapy Training Centre at Hadrian School in Newcastle, which is attended by 170 children with additional needs. Previous events raised thousands of pounds for local charities: Little Steps for Lily and The Calvert Trust.