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Festive bus drivers' big funds boost

Happy New Year Sunshine News Readers!

This is our first column of the year as we return to work from Christmas break and annual leave and we have some great news to share with you all. It feels good to share some positivity!

Thanks to you, our Christmas Appeal was a real success raising a whopping £17,000. From donning your Christmas knits and purchasing letters from Santa for your loved ones, to festive bakes and one off donations. Our wonderful supporters went above and beyond as we asked for help to raise funds for desperate children in our region and as always, we have been overwhelmed with your generosity. We are so grateful to each of you for supporting our families even during such uncertain and challenging times.

A special thank you to our Stagecoach Driving Santa's and the fantastic team at the Slatyford depot whose crazy costumes raised over £5,000 for our charity on the run up to Christmas!!!! We were astonished to hear about the final amount raised by the team throughout December, this donation will be a huge help as we look to fund equipment from our waiting list. Generous Stagecoach passengers dug deep over the festive season and donated on their journeys as they were driven all over the region by Santas, panto dames, Rudolfs and Snowmen. We can always rely on Stagecoach for a giggle, and they love the chance to dress up and make their passengers smile, but this year the drivers really got on board (See what we did there?) and went all out with their costumes. Laura Smith, Operations Manager for the Slatyford depot, said: “I’m so proud of our staff for their commitment and dedication to the causes they chose, The Chronicle Sunshine Fund and The Northumbria Bloodbikes. They’ve raised a fantastic amount again this year, in challenging circumstances, which will provide a huge boost the fantastic support provided by these wonderful charities.”

As regular readers know, we are a small team with big ideas and we love our Team Planning Days! We usually get together twice a year, somewhere off site like a meeting space which has been kindly donated by a corporate partner, eat lots of biscuits and cakes, drink gallons of strong coffee and brainstorm the months ahead to make sure we are operating as best we can to serve the families, schools and organisations we support. Our first team planning day of 2021 looked a little different…. While the sweet treats were just as good and we didn't have to que for the loo at break times, we did all look a little Loose Women as we held our session virtually for the first time! Although there were no hugs or high fives for good ideas, there was still lots of love and laughter from our small but mighty team and we look forward to sharing our 2021 plans with you all soon.

Stay safe and well, we are all in this together.