Big-hearted car workers belonging to the Unite the union’s Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Solihull branch have raised £50,000 for five charities in the Birmingham region, as thousands in the city face a bleak Covid-19 Christmas.
Unite said that its 9,000 JLR branch members had dug deep to support the charities with £20,000 going to SIFA Fireside, the day centre for homeless and vulnerably housed adults; and £20,000 to the St Basil’s Youth Hub which helps homeless young people to find a home and employment.
The remaining £10,000 has been split between Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church Foodbank (£3,000); Erdington Baptist Church Foodbank (£3,000); and Crisis Skylight Birmingham (£4,000).
Two giant cheques were presented to the main recipients, SIFA Fireside and St Basil’s Youth Hub (pictured) today (December 17).
Commenting, Unite plant convenor Solihull operations and global chair of convenors JLR Mick Graham said, “We have about 9,000 members in our branch at JLR Solihull and we decided to make this donation due to the incredibly difficult position ordinary people have found themselves in due to Covid-19 and the economic damage that has been caused and continues to be caused by the pandemic – it has certainly affected the poorest, the hardest.
“The branch felt it could make a significant difference with this donation and make a difference to people in dire circumstances, at least to eat and obtain support where needed.”
Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands Annmarie Kilcline added, “The response to our national appeal to help those in desperate straits has been tremendous from our members working for JLR.
“Once again, they have dug deep in terms of hard cash and generosity of spirit to help those who are struggling and worried in the West Midlands about how they will get through this Christmas. It is truly heart warming to see Unite members put their arms around those in need.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner hailed the generosity of the JLR members.
“Social solidarity is what this union is all about,” he said. “The JLR branch and members have shown that solidarity in spades, linking arms with our Community members, and because of their commitment to their fellow human beings there will be some joy in households who feared it would be in short supply this Christmas.
“But we know that it is not just about one day in the calendar. Our friends and families will need our support throughout this winter and through this crisis – and Unite will be there when they do.”
By Shaun Noble
Pics by Nathan Darby