Helping Hand, the non-profit organisation run by a committee of Leyland Trucks and PACCAR Parts employees, has announced a programme of large-scale challenges as part of its #StrongerTogether fundraising event, with the goal of raising £20,000 for local cancer charities.
The organisation has stepped up its charitable commitments in 2021 to commemorate Leyland Trucks’ 125th anniversary, and to combat the impact of the pandemic on charities in the area.
Usually part of Leyland Festival, Helping Hand’s annual fundraising event has been extended for 2021 to span 7 weeks, from 11th July to 31st August, with the bumper #StrongerTogether event packed with fundraising initiatives big and small.
Marking 125 years in business for Leyland Trucks, a truck pull will see teams compete to heave an XF vehicle over a 125-foot course; a 12.5k running and walking event will take place within the Leyland area; and a 125 mile in a day cycling challenge will cover the lanes of North Lancashire.
Meanwhile, doggy walks, half marathons, golf challenges, cycle routes that tackle some of Lancashire’s most notorious climbs and descents, and a team of walkers, cyclists, golfers, runners, triathletes and more, will work to collectively turn their miles into money.
Every penny raised during the #StrongerTogether event will be donated to St Catherine’s Hospice, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Rosemere Cancer Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support. Cancer charities, like so many worthy causes, have seen a devastating drop in funding due to COVID-19, but the latest stats state that half of people born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime.
Phil Jones at Helping Hand, says: “It's no secret that the pandemic has impacted those most vulnerable, with COVID-19 causing delays in treatment – which can be potentially devastating for those suffering from cancer. Everyone deserves to access the support they need when they need it, and the charities we’re fundraising for are there for people during times of significant hardship.
“Just like last year’s event, we’re expecting a spectacular few weeks of fundraising as the Leyland Trucks team, together with their families and friends, once again lace up or saddle up to collectively cover as many miles as physically – and inclusively! – as possible.
“Whatever social restrictions remain in place this summer, our social value agenda will never be placed on pause. Whilst we may not quite be ready for our usual Factory to Festival bike ride to take to the streets once again, we have decided to launch #StrongerTogether, which so aptly coincides with our 125th birthday milestone!
“COVID has taught us all that we’re stronger together, and that’s exactly what this mission represents. We’re looking forward to working as a team to provide much needed support to people and charities in real need. Together we can make a real difference for friends and loved ones within our community who are affected by cancer.”
Helping Hand was founded in 1994 by a group of enthusiastic Leyland Trucks and PACCAR PARTS workers who wanted to help disadvantaged employees and local causes. To-date, the charity has raised over £1 million to date.
Emma Jacovelli, head of community engagement at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “Leyland Trucks has been an incredible supporter of St Catherine’s for many years, and we feel proud and privileged to team up once again with this respected local firm in its 125th birthday year.
“We very much echo the sentiment that we are #StrongerTogether. We have seen so much teamwork, community spirit and fantastic support for our cause throughout the pandemic, which we are truly grateful for.
“We are still facing significant challenges and feeling the impact of the pandemic on our fundraising efforts, and whilst we are delighted that some of our events and activities can resume – such as the gradual re-opening of The Mill café and our charity shops – we are depending on the backing of our community more than ever to see us through this next chapter.
“We can’t wait to find out what everyone has planned, and we’d like to say a very heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Leyland Trucks for once again going the extra mile for our hospice, helping us to care for local people and support local families to have quality of life, to the end of life.”
Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, said: “We are immensely grateful to everyone at Leyland Trucks for the support its Helping Hand charity has given us over the years. Its donations to us now total over £30,000 and have been put towards a variety of great projects, which have benefitted hundreds and hundreds of cancer patients from throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria.
“We were especially grateful to be among the charities benefitting from its 2020 Factory to Festival Miles Better Together event, which went ahead despite all the coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions. Last year was a terrible year for us as our income tumbled with all our own and many of our supporters’ fundraising events having to be cancelled. To receive a grant of £1,000 in the midst of it was like a glimmer of hope.”