One of the UK’s oldest bakeries has risen to a new challenge – raising money for a children’s hospice charity.
The Wrexham-based Gerrards bakery is a supporter of the Hope House and Ty Gobaith hospices.
The family-run firm presented a cheque for £726 to fundraiser Rachel Jones after selling more than 2,900 specially baked gingerbread biscuits in their 15 shops.
Established in 1838, Gerrards is run by husband and wife, Dirk and Dawn van Rensburg, who were inspired to help the hospice charity after going on a visit to see what they do at first hand.
Dirk said: “A children’s hospice certainly puts everything else into perspective – we really don’t know how lucky we are.
“It is really important that people continue to give money to them because we must make sure that these children are made to feel comfortable, by creating an environment that is as pleasant as possible.
“There are many good causes but few are better than Hope House and Ty Gobaith and we were delighted to be able help once again.
“Many people might be surprised to learn that the hospice is a very happy place and a wonderful caring environment with brilliant staff.
“It is a much-needed facility. It is really important for parents that the right support and facilities are available if their children become ill.”
According to hospice fundraiser Rachel Jones, the support of companies like Gerrards was vital – especially in the current economic climate.
She said: “It costs us over £4 million to keep our doors open and run all the services in the hospices and the families’ own homes.
“Of that, we get 30 days’ funding from the Government, the NHS and other statutory bodies which means that over 95 per cent of our funding comes from voluntary income.
“Touch wood we are doing very well but it is thanks to companies like Gerrards who are backing us that we are able to keep going.
“For the past couple of years, Gerrards have taken part in our Corporate Challenge.
“We give £50 each to companies and we challenge them to see what they can do with that investment.
“This year Gerrards have raised £726 which is a phenomenal return on the £50 – the customers got a tasty treat while supporting their local children’s hospice.
“We cover the whole of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.
“We have 400 families on our books and 270 of them have a child using one of our two hospices, Hope House, near Oswestry, or Ty Gobaith, near Conwy.
“The other 130 are bereaved families who are using our counselling and support services.
“We provide respite for terminally ill children and their families and we do a lot of work with the extended families. brothers and sisters, and we provide a lot of counselling support for mums and dads as well.
“We have now become so expert at speaking to families over the years that we now actually get referrals from the NHS, Social Services and the emergency services to care for families who have lost a child in any circumstance – be it a cot death, a fire, a suicide or road traffic accident.
“We can take that family on our books and give them bereavement support for as long as they need us after the death of the child.
“There isn’t another service in the area that can provide the long-term care plans that we can.
“We are open 24/7 on 365 days a year and we don’t charge a penny for our services.”