Scrap metal from SABIC plants has enabled three brothers employed by the Teesside chemical firm to give £1,000 in thanks to the Down’s Syndrome Association for lifelong support to brother Chris McCarten.
Chris, 28, who has Down’s Syndrome, is now living independently in Middlesbrough thanks to the ongoing support of the Association and Mencap.
His brothers James, Matty and Danny Ruse, who all work on SABIC’s Olefins plant at Wilton, arranged for the £1,000 donation in recognition of the charity’s lifelong support for Chris and his family.
The donation was part of a £10,000 charity boost by staff working on SABIC’s Olefins and Ethylene plants from the firm’s scrap metal fund.
The company sets aside cash from the sale of scrap metal from the plants, with staff choosing which local charities to support.
The scrap metal fund has now raised £80,000 since SABIC began operating on Teesside 10 years ago.
James, who also has another brother Andy, who works for Johnson Matthey, said choosing the Down’s Syndrome Association was an easy choice for the three brothers, saying: “Being able to nominate the Association as our chosen charity was brilliant.
“The support they have given to us, and families like us, has been amazing, so it was nice to be able to give a little back and to say thank you.”
The Association helps people with Down’s Syndrome to live full and rewarding lives, and Chris’s mum Karen believes it has played a crucial role not just for her son but the entire family.
“We’re so proud of Chris and all that he’s achieved. He’s been to the Special Olympics, gone to college and now has a job and lives independently.”
She said she and Chris’s dad Steve had received continual to support from the Down’s Syndrome Association.
She continued: “It’s just so reassuring to know the Association is available to help with any concerns or problems we or Chris might have.
“As a family, we’ve often called them with our concerns, and they’ve always had the information we needed or pointed us in the right direction.”
A multi-medal winning gymnast at the 2005 Special Olympics in Glasgow, Boro fan Chris was a pupil at Priory Woods School in Middlesbrough before taking a three-year catering course at Hexham College.
He now works in a café at Hemlington Baptist Church, whilst also taking drama lessons with Backstreet Theatre Group in Grangetown.
For the last five years he has lived in a four-bedroom house with two classmates, thanks to ongoing support from the Downs Syndrome Association and Mencap.
Karen added: “The change in Chris since he started living independently in remarkable. He cooks, cleans, washes and irons. He can shop on his own at the local Tesco and budgets for his shopping.
“He’s just amazing! He’s very grumpy, he has his own mind and opinion but he’s a very caring person and good fun. He loves a party and his family.
“And he loves going to the match to support the Boro – though his team are really Man United. In fact, he wears a Man United shirt under his Boro top when goes to the game!”
As part of the scrap metal fund, SABIC staff also nominated £1,000 donations to Diamond Blackfan Anaemia UK, Cleveland Alzheimer’s Association, Butterwick Hospice, the Great North Air Ambulance and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.
£500 donations were made to Loftus Cricket Club, Burlam Road Detachment Army Cadets, Redcar Rugby Club Junior Section, Great Ayton Under-11s cricket team and Runswick Bay RNLI.
Receiving £300 each were Redcar Town Girls’ Football Club, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Redcar Sacred Heart Academy, Hope Animal Sanctuary and Maxi’s Mates Rescue and Rehoming Centre.
Scrap metal fund committee member John McCarthy, a process technician on the Olefins plant, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support organisations and local charities that are close to the hearts of our employees in this way.
“We try to share the funds around, as there are so many worthy causes. It is great that we are able to make such a difference through the sale of scrap metal.”
Along with around 1,000 staff and contractors employed on its Teesside sites, thousands more local jobs are reliant on SABIC within the wider supply chain, bringing some £400 million into the economy from payroll, utilities, goods and services.
SABIC operates a world-scale Olefins ‘cracker’, producing Ethylene, Propylene, Butadiene and gasoline products.
The firm’s LDPE plant at Wilton, producing Low Density Polyethylene, is the world’s biggest of its type. The LDPE forms the building blocks to plastic packaging used in everything from food to electrical goods.