NATIONAL charity Changing Lives is hoping to attract some of the country’s leading businesses to sign up to its unique fundraising initiative ‘Put 5k to Work’. The business challenge will help to raise vital funds for the charity’s innovative Employment Service, which helps vulnerable people find long-term jobs.

Changing Lives Employment Service is delivered across the North East in conjunction with Business in the Community’s national ‘Ready for Work’ programme.  The service helps people with some of the biggest barriers to the job market to get employment ready and secure sustainable jobs.

Over the past three years, with the support of businesses such as Sage, Virgin Money, BettaKleen, PwC, M&S and Greggs plc, over 700 people have used the employment service to gain employment skills such as confidence building, work placements, further education, CV writing skills and interview techniques. Many of them have then secured full time, sustainable jobs.

Greggs receiving 5k chequeCorporate supporter Greggs signed up to the 5k challenge after the charity, which has a head office in Gateshead, launched the project at Sage’s head office at Great Park, Gosforth last week (Thursday, May 29). The 5k initiative calls for corporate teams to take up to £5,000, loaned from the charity and over a period of six months, generate as much profit possible and achieve the largest return for the charity to reinvest in to its Employment Service.

Stephen Bell, OBE, chief executive of Changing Lives believes the project is a great way for businesses to build their CSR credits, while developing their creative skills to raise funds for a worthwhile cause.

He said: “Put £5k to Work is a unique fundraising initiative which gives businesses the opportunity to make their ideas a reality – as long as it’s decent, fair and legal, the business teams can use their imagination, strategic brains and business insight to maximise the £5,000 investment.  In return the organisations can spot future leaders, identify superstars and hit those important corporate social responsibility targets.

“Not only will the initiative help to raise the profile of businesses in the region, the overall fundraising aim is to raise much needed funds for our employment team to continue their ground-breaking work finding long-term meaningful jobs for vulnerable people.”

Sue McArdle, Head of Business Assurance at Greggs Plc, said: “Greggs is delighted to take part in this fantastic initiative, not only to raise funds to sustain the work of Changing Lives, but to also provide an opportunity for some of our brightest young talent to work together and develop their business acumen.”

Changing Lives Employment Service delivers a powerful support package to help clients from a range of backgrounds and with a variety of skills and experiences get back in to work. Changing Lives work with people over the age of 18 years old who’ve experienced homelessness and other forms of disadvantage.

For further information about Put £5k to Work and to enter a team, please contact Val Nevin on 0191 256 2913 or email or visit