"Businesses have a responsibility to support good causes in their local communities"
A transport company is giving hard-pressed charities and community groups in Greater Manchester a welcome boost by providing them with £25,000 of free advertising on its buses.
Phil Hitchen, managing director of Stockport-based Belle Vue, said the company’s gesture aims to help them raise funds and increase awareness at a time of pressing need.
He said: “All charities are struggling during the pandemic, and some could cease to function if people don’t donate to them. Businesses have a responsibility to support good causes in their local communities.
“The ones we have chosen to help all do great work, and we are pleased to promote them. Hopefully, the adverts will generate income as well as increasing exposure about the work they do.”
Belle Vue carries two million passengers a year on its fleet of 60 school buses and 20 coaches. It is the largest education transport provider in Greater Manchester.
One of the adverts is for The Christie charity’s Touching Lives campaign. The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust by providing money for cancer care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services.
Phil’s life was saved by successful cancer treatment at The Christie in 2011.
Steph Bryant, corporate fundraising coordinator at The Christie charity, said: “We are delighted that Belle Vue Manchester is showing its support for The Christie charity.
“Cancer doesn’t stop for a pandemic, and our fundraising hasn’t stopped. This has been an incredibly difficult time for us all, but it is thanks to support from local companies such as Belle Vue that we can reach wider audiences and continue raising awareness of The Christie’s work.”
Pure Innovations is a charity which supports people with disabilities, health conditions and those who are living in isolation and cut off from their communities. Among the services it operates are cafés in Stockport and Oldham.
Director of operations Dave Ferrier said: “We very much appreciate the significant role that Phil and the team at Belle Vue are playing in supporting our work by providing advertising on the side of its buses. It is enabling us to spread the message about Pure Innovations across Greater Manchester.”
NK Theatre Arts is a charity which offers regular workshops in musical theatre, dance and drama, and has a 370-seat auditorium in Stockport – The Forum Romiley Theatre – which in normal times is used by many community organisations.
Darren Stannage, company manager at NK Theatre Arts, said: “We are thrilled to receive this support from Belle Vue Manchester. It’s a brilliant way to promote the activities we offer to the community and will really help raise our profile even further.
“We can’t wait for the people of Stockport to be able to return to theatres safely, and this gives us a wonderful chance to promote specific shows and events we are producing, be that a premiere of a show or even a visit from Sir Ian McKellen.
“We love to prove that you don’t need to leave the borough to experience great live theatre, and Belle Vue is helping to spread the word.”
Stockport Volleyball Club is a non-profit community organisation which has members living all over the north west.
Director Adrian Stores said: “It’s an incredibly supportive gesture by Belle Vue. We are one of the fastest-growing clubs in the north west, with players of all abilities and ages, from beginners to National Volleyball League athletes. We hope that, through this increased promotional activity, more people may be interested in joining.”
Phil said: “Our school buses are mainly bright yellow and are therefore very visible and eye-catching, so it’s pleasing to help this quartet of really worthwhile causes attract more attention across Greater Manchester.”
He is in discussions with Stockport-based Seashell Trust to promote it on a Belle Vue bus. The charity supports children and young people with complex learning difficulties, disabilities and additional communication needs from across the UK.