COMPANIES across Shropshire are making a difference in their community by helping to raise more than £100,000 by pledging to become the first ever Hope House Children’s Hospices Business Champions.

The scheme was introduced by the charity at the end of 2020, and allows firms to become a Business Champion by generously pledging a donation which will go towards supporting seriously ill children and their families.

The pandemic has had a huge effect on the finances of the charity, with traditional fundraising events having to be cancelled and shops being closed.

Cat Dowdeswell, fundraiser for the Business Champion incentive, said the response to the scheme has been great.

She said: “The hospices need 12 specialist masks and 12 gowns in any one 24-hour period for every child being cared for. This equates to a cost of £78 for each child, per day.

“We invited businesses to become a Champion by initially donating £780 which could cover the cost of 10 days PPE for one child's stay.

“The response has been overwhelming, with a good number of business donating more than the £780, we are extremely grateful to all those businesses that have got on board supported us in this way, it really is making a difference.”

The financial pressures of the last year has meant the charity faces a £1.25 million shortfall in income to date.

On top of that, there are additional requirements for things like PPE and increased staffing levels, and so the Business Champion initiative was born.

The first cohort of Business Champions from across North Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire and Powys have pledged to directly helping to fund some of the PPE costs for the hospices, with a £100,000 being raised so far.