Plenty to Smile about as charity given £26k boost by supporters

Sue Towlerton, centre, from the SMILE committee presented the Abingdon charity with the cheque last month

There were smiles all round for an Oxfordshire charity supporting vulnerable young people after being presented with a cheque for nearly £26,000.

Gary Hibbins, manager of The Abingdon Bridge, thanked staff from the Milton Hill-based fuel company Infineum UK for the “fantastic” £25,836.20 donation.

Dick Richards is a trustee of the charity and helped establish Infineum’s SMILE committee to support charities when working as a human resources manager at the company 14 years ago.

Employees at the business and technology centre have spent the past 12 months fundraising for the company’s charity of the year and presented The Abingdon Bridge with the cheque on January 18.

Mr Richards said: “We are delighted with the donation.

“We have applied on two previous occasions to be their charity of the year and we were successful last year, and it has been a really good thing for us.

“What the SMILE committee do for the chosen charity of the year is match a certain amount of the fundraising that has been achieved by colleagues.”

Cake sales, raffles, and half marathons were also put on by Infineum staff to raise funds for The Abingdon Bridge.

He added: “One group walked 26 miles along the Thames path and raised £1,000, and then the SMILE committee matched that and so we received £2,000.

“They ran a big auction at the end of the year where favours were given and that raised just under £5,000 this year, and SMILE made a donation of £1,000 to that.”

The donation will be used to support the charity’s latest initiative aimed at helping young people to become more aware of the risks associated with social media.

“SMART is our social media anxiety resilience team. The donation from SMILE will have a massive impact on the programme,” Mr Richards said.

Sue Towlerton of the Infineum SMILE committee said she was “thrilled with the result” and praised the work being done by The Abingdon Bridge.

The Abingdon Bridge are also in their first year of three in receipt of £30,000 from Children in Need to support counselling services.

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