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Workers donate £20,000 to local hospice

Patient care at a Hartlepool hospice is set to benefit from a major donation from workers at The Expanded Metal Company.

Employees at The Expanded Metal Company and Birtley Group Limited have donated £20,000 from their benevolent fund to Alice House Hospice, which offers care and support for people and their families affected by life limiting illnesses, or the death of a loved one.

Alice House Hospice in Hartlepool is the only adult hospice in the Hartlepool and East Durham area offering a comprehensive range of services, providing vital healthcare provision for the community.

Each year it costs around £2.5 million for Alice House Hospice to provide specialist care services and only a quarter of this amount is funded by the Government. The hospice depends on fundraising activities to reach the shortfall, meaning that support from businesses and the community is crucial to sustain hospice care in the region.

Many of the staff at The Expanded Metal Company and Birtley Group Limited originally worked together under the umbrella of Expamet International plc, before The Expanded Metal Company was sold to Gibraltar Industries in November 2006 and Expamet was run as a separate business before being sold to Birtley Group Limited in 2012.

Dave Atkinson, machine operator at The Expanded Metal Company, who organised the donation, said: “My colleagues and I wanted to donate the funding to a local charity in Hartlepool. Alice House Hospice is an excellent service, so it’s brilliant that we can help. I have personal experience of the support it offers patients and families, as my own mother received care from Alice House Hospice. The staff were amazing and helped us through a very difficult time.”

Dave, who was born and bred in Hartlepool and has been an employee of The Expanded Metal Company for more than 40 years, added: “It’s great to give something back. We are a local workforce supporting a local charity and that’s very important to us.”

Philip Astley, managing director of The Expanded Metal Company, said: “I would like to thank our employees who have generously organised the contribution of this donation to the hospice. Generations of the Hartlepool community have worked for The Expanded Metal Company and we have very strong roots in the local area. We are delighted that Alice House Hospice will be benefiting from our employees’ support as it is a much-needed facility which has been making a major difference to people in the region for decades.”

Alice House Hospice was set up in 1980 by hospice founder, Alice Bendle and has since supported thousands of local people and their families.

Greg Hildreth, corporate fundraiser at Alice House Hospice, said: “On behalf of everyone at Alice House Hospice, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the employees of The Expanded Metal Company, past and present, whose contributions to the benevolent fund have made up this incredible donation. This extremely generous gift will be used to fund the patient care services which support patients and families throughout our community who are affected by incurable illnesses.

“The funding will provide hope, comfort and pain relief to people during very dark times and this would not be possible without such support.”

A cheque presentation took place at the Alice House Hospice on Wednesday April, 12, with staff from both The Expanded Metal Company and Birtley Group Limited present at the event. The longest serving members of both companies also attended.

If you are interested in fundraising or making a donation to the Alice House Hospice you can contact Greg Hildreth at the Hospice, please email ghildreth@alicehousehospice.co.uk