Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 12.26.08A group of Sunderland based customer care staff dug out their gardening skills in aid of a Seaham-based charity.

After recently completing a D.I.Y project on the internal offices, staff from EDF Energy, Doxford International Business Park, came forward and offered their support for a second time at the Clarke Lister Feel Good Centre.

The EDF Energy Helping Hands volunteered after team leader Shirley Hann heard of the struggle the charity had in ensuring the newly acquired building and its grounds are safe and welcoming for visitors.

In 1996, Carole Lister’s son, Clarke Lister, died of a brain haemorrhage, aged 10. For almost 20 years, Carole has fundraised for research into brain haemorrhages through the Clarke Lister Brain Haemorrhage Foundation. The Clarke Lister Feel Good Centre, is a new registered charity based in Seaham which provides a warm and welcome environment for abled and less abled bodied people in coming together to enjoy various ‘Feel Good’ sessions promoting social interaction, independence and combatting isolation.

Carole, from Peterlee, said: “The EDF Energy Helping Hands have done a great job in our offices and gardens. We want to make this the best environment for those who need it most, and the volunteers have certainly helped us get one step closer to achieving that. We still have many jobs to do to make the centre reach its vision, but being offered help in this way is so rewarding.”

“We are now open for business and have many activities planned, for all to enjoy. On Tuesdays we have a special day from 10.30 – 3pm offering breakfast, lunch and activities. We plan to extend this day to a Thursday as our numbers are increasing every week. We will provide other exercise classes, entertainment days and much more for our service users. We also have a long term plan to expand and build a gym.”

Shirley Hann, from EDF Energy said: “It is such a great local charity for us to support through the Helping Hands scheme.

“I have tried to support the Clarke Lister Foundation as much as possible since my husband suddenly passed away five years ago of a brain haemorrhage. I know first-hand how devastating it can be for sufferers and their families, so I suggested that the EDF Energy Helping Hands give them the extra help they needed at the centre.

“I can’t wait to see the finished result and to see the service users enjoy their new environment.”

The EDF Energy Helping Hands scheme allows employees at Doxford to take up to two days extra paid leave every year to volunteer in the local community. The scheme not only benefits local people, but also provides important personal development and team-building opportunities for staff involved.