Charity’s heartfelt thanks after “whopping” festive boost

Jemma Ramsay, a director of building contractors Ovamill, officially hands over the company'’s £25,0

Jemma Ramsay, a director of building contractors Ovamill, officially hands over the company'’s £25,000 donation to Karl Jermyn, chairman of the trustees at Great Yarmouth charity Centre 81 Picture: TMS Media - Credit: TMS Media

A charity has been left stunned by a “whopping” windfall that will secure its lifeline service helping hundreds of people just as it faces new demands on its budget.

Centre 81 said the £25,000 donation from building contractors Ovamill was a timely boost as it struggled to meet a rise in national wage rates, giving its members a fantastic start to the new year.

Mark Everard, of Beccles-based Ovamill, said: “We admire the amazing work of Centre 81, and the commitment of staff and volunteers who make such a difference to people’s lives. It has been our privilege to support this brilliant charity for a few years and we are delighted to continue our association with this further donation.”

Centre 81 operates a skills and activities centre in Tar Works Road, Great Yarmouth, for about 70 members with a wide range of physical and sensory disabilities and the opportunity to enjoy everything from sailing and swimming to ten-pin and theatre trips.

The charity also has a fleet of ten fully-accessible minibuses providing transport for members and the wider public.

Mr Everard added: “It’s a difficult environment for charities today, with local authorities having reduced resources and the introduction of the National Living Wage pushing up staff costs, but they carry on providing an outstanding service transforming the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our community. We thank Centre 81 for what they do.”

Diana Staines, chief executive of Centre 81, said: “All charities face the same challenges today, not the least of which is the National Living Wage, which will add a whopping £30,000 to our wage bill next year, with further big increases in following years. Centre 81’s staff are fantastic and deserve every penny they get. Our job is to manage our resources wisely and continue to deliver first class services for our members.

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“This fantastic donation came completely out of the blue and is most welcome from two aspects. Firstly, it is a brilliant boost to our funds. But equally important, it’s a touching acknowledgement of the work we do from people in the business community whose generosity never fails to move us. I thank Mark and his fellow directors from the bottom of my heart,” she said.

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