North East businesses join forces to support special school

Life will be made a little bit easier for children at a Newcastle special school thanks to the generosity of teams of fund-raising footballers who competed for the sixth Concept Cup.

Hadrian School is now able to buy a special motorised bed to help move its profoundly disabled pupils in greater comfort. The bed will also allow them to take part in more activities around the school.

“It’s very humbling for us,” said the school’s business manager David Palmer. “The government doesn’t give us money for special equipment like this, so we really appreciate the support of Concept and everybody who took part.”Stewart Hunter from Concept (left) and David Palmer from Hadrian School with a specialist bed.

Concept, which is a based in the Newcastle Business Park, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xerox.

Through its annual five-a-side football competition – which started in 2014 – it has raised more than £20,000 for North East charities, including The Calvert Trust, Little Steps for Lily and the North East Autism Society.

This year a record 20 teams, from some of the region’s best-known businesses and organisations, entered the Concept Cup.

It was won by CSL Services from Gateshead, who beat Hydram Engineering from County Durham 5-3 in the final.  Other teams taking part represented Mincoffs, NCFE, Unite, Sir Robert McAlpine, NCFE, Forfusion, Projekt Architects and Hadrian School.  There were two teams from Allay and three from Virgin Money.Action from the final of this year's Concept Cup. Winners CSL Services are in green.

The finalists in this year's Concept Cup with David Palmer from Hadrian School (top left) and Stewart Hunter of Concept (top right).The target of £5000 needed to buy Hadrian’s third Achiever bed was exceeded through competition entry fees, an auction, raffle and office collections. The additional money that was raised will also go to the school.

“We’re fortunate to have had a long relationship with Hadrian School and three years ago the Concept Cup helped it buy special trampolines for its children,” said Concept’s sales manager Stewart Hunter.  “When you visit you see the fantastic environment the staff create for the children and we hope the money we have raised will help make a positive difference.”

Last year the school, which is based in Benwell and attended by 160 children with additional needs, was attacked by vandals.

The incident triggered widespread condemnation and donations and messages of support from high profile figures, as well as businesses, community partners, friends, parents and carers.

“That was a very low point for us,” said business manager David Palmer. “But the reaction then and the support of Concept – and everybody who took part in the Concept Cup – has been overwhelming.”

The school’s new motorised bed will help strengthen children’s posture, improve their comfort and help their independence.

“The beds can be moved to different areas of the school, helping to save time by not transferring children in and out of their chairs so they can spend more time in activities they enjoy,” said David.

“The beds help to achieve positive outcomes, enhanced function, comfort, sleep and protection of body shape for our children.”