‘A staggering amount of money’ - charity hails biggest ever private donation

Ovamill director Mark Everard with Diana Staines (right), chief executive of Centre 81, and members

Ovamill director Mark Everard with Diana Staines (right), chief executive of Centre 81, and members of the charity’s skills and activities centre Joseph Smith and Michelle Osborne Picture: TMS Media - Credit: Archant

A charity has received the largest private donation in its history – a cheque for a “staggering” £40,000.

Beccles-based building contractors Ovamill said the donation to Great Yarmouth’s Centre 81 was in recognition of the charity’s work for disabled and disadvantaged people during the pandemic and throughout its 39-year history.

Mark Everard, company director, said successful companies should feel a moral duty to support charities like Centre 81 and other organisations that played roles in their communities. He said: “A great many people would be lost without the work of Centre 81 and its amazing staff, and we are delighted to support them.”

Diana Staines, Centre 81’s chief executive, said: “This is a staggering amount of money for a charity like ours to receive and every single penny will be put to good use. It makes us feel truly appreciated and I can’t thank Mark and his colleagues enough for their huge generosity.

“Receiving a donation of this magnitude has made us all feel valued and, indeed, quite emotional at such a difficult time.”

Mr Everard said: “Covid-19 has been a life-changing experience for people but for most of us it hasn’t been life-threatening.

“This is not the case for many of the vulnerable people who use Centre 81’s skills and activities centre and community transport service, lots of whom have suffered from terrible isolation and anxiety while they’ve been shielding. This is our chance to do something that we know will make a real difference. This is a time for successful companies to show their support for charities, sports clubs, youth groups and other local organisations, many of them run by volunteers. And I would urge them to do it, as a donation of any size is not just a source of financial help but an important show of support and appreciation.”

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Ms Staines said: “Donations from companies are an incredible boost to the morale of our members, staff, volunteers and trustees. They show that the charity sector isn’t forgotten.”

Based in Tar Works Road, Centre 81 runs a skills and activities centre for more than 70 disabled people and a fleet of 11 fully accessible minibuses providing a community transport service for more than 700 people.

The charity, formed in 1981, employs 45 people and has 25 volunteers.