The DJ of the Castle Hotel in Blackpool, Joe Curran, has been the brains behind a not-for-profit organisation, Care for Kids, giving over 1200 gift bags to the children of frontline staff during the COVID-19 lockdown in Blackpool and Oldham.
Joe has been the DJ at the Castle Hotel for 12 years, most known for his Saturday afternoon slot when he fundraises for charities, but has worked with the company for over 30 years entertaining customers. He also works closely the NHS and social services as a volunteer to support the friends and family of children with acute medical conditions.
These gift bags include a personal greetings card of reassurance and gratitude from their parent, who works on the frontline, along with a selection of chocolate and snacks. This simple act of kindness was aimed at supporting those families that might have been struggling during the pandemic and needed a small pick-me-up to lift spirits, especially among the young people in the family.
Initial fundraising saw Joe raise more than £1,400 to get this initiative up and running. However, he soon welcomed donations from Mondelez International who donated Cadbury’s chocolate, the Tayto Group who gave bags of Golden Wonder crisps, DPA packaging who provided all the boxes and the Coop Community Fund, which boosted funds.
Joe Curran from the Castle Hotel said: “When lockdown happened and my gig at the Castle paused, I wanted to find another way to help and support the community. Through my volunteering work with young people, I recognised that those families of frontline staff would be suffering from anxiety and might worry about their loved ones being exposed to COVID-19 on a daily basis. I just wanted to do something that would let them know how important they are in this fight against this disease.
“We originally started with the aim to make 900 gift bags, but through the generosity of all those who donated, I was ecstatic to be able to produce more. The feedback has been overwhelming, we have been told of the positive impact that they have had on mental wellbeing on the recipients as they have acted as conversation starters.”
A father, who remains anonymous, of a five year boy, said: “A nice touch from Care for Kids and the Castle Pub in Blackpool recognising the upheaval for all the children at the hospital during Covid-19 and for them putting up with mum and dad doing extra hours.”
Joe added: “My next ambition is to take this nationwide, drawing on the success in Blackpool and Oldham. I have approached all the Premier League and EFL clubs for their support in this initiative, in the hope that they will join the cause.”
To make a donation to Care for Kids, please visit the Go Fund Me Page – https://uk.gofundme.com/f/nhs-kids
For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About Stonegate Pub Company
Following the acquisition of Ei Group on 3rd March 2020 for £1.27bn, Stonegate Pub Company is the largest pub company in the UK. Its portfolio is comprised of 1270 sites within the managed division and 3457 leased and tenanted businesses.
The managed pubs division, which employs 17,000 people, is split into Branded and Traditional pubs. Branded is comprised of: Slug & Lettuce, Walkabout, Be At One and Venues. Traditional (unbranded) pubs is made up of: Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, Classic Inns, Common Room, Craft Union and Bermondsey Pub Group.