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Four local charities will benefit from a cash boost after Your Homes Newcastle’s apprentices raised money selling merchandise for the Newcastle Eagles basketball team.

The “Eagles Enterprise Challenge” saw the apprentices split into two teams who battled it out to turn the biggest profit in a challenge befitting of Alan Sugar and his dynamic “candidates”.

Several weeks of planning, budgeting, ordering materials and marketing products culminated in a match-night trade off with one team claiming victory after out-selling the other. The products included limited edition 20th anniversary Newcastle Eagles foam hands and club-branded silicone wristbands.

YHN apprentices with the Newcastle Eagles on match night

YHN apprentices with the Newcastle Eagles on match night

Stuart Clarke, Employability Manager at Your Homes Newcastle, said: “We’ve run the Eagles Enterprise Challenge regularly for a few years now and the apprentices always really enjoy it. There’s some healthy competition obviously but it’s not really about that – it’s about them working together in teams to develop useful skills and experience.

“Our apprentices work in a wide variety of departments across our organisation, from gardening to ICT, and they’re very well supported to develop in their chosen area of work. We like to take them out of their comfort zones from time to time however, and are keen to get them involved in projects that are a bit different and can give them something unique to put on their CV.

“The Eagles Enterprise Challenge is perfect for this; it’s a really interesting task and being an integral part of match night is very exciting for them. The Newcastle Eagles team and everyone behind the scenes are incredibly supportive and enthusiastic which makes the experience even better.

“And, most importantly, taking part in the challenge helps the apprentices to give something back. We recently took them to visit Tiny Lives and the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital so they could see the difference their money makes and they were delighted to gain an insight into how their donations will be spent. That’s an incredibly valuable part of the whole process and one they, and we, get an awful lot out of.”

The apprentices raised a total of £423.50 which will be distributed between Tiny Lives, the British Heart Foundation and the Great North Children’s Hospital and an earlier group raised £180 for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).

The apprentices recently presented Sam Moralee, Fundraising and Events Manager at CHUF, with a cheque and she showed them the difference funding can make to the children and their families who are treated at the specialist centre at the Freeman. They were taken on a tour of the wards and saw lots of specialist machinery, the sensory room, the cinema screen and various other pieces of equipment that helps those spending time at the centre to have as much fun as possible.

Your Homes Newcastle support CHUF as the charity makes an amazing difference, not only in medical terms but also in terms of wellbeing and happiness, by trying to improve the quality of life for the children on the ward.

The apprentices were joined by the Newcastle Eagles’ Fab Flournoy, a regular visitor to the centre, who said:  “It’s great having Your Homes Newcastle support CHUF as the charity makes an amazing difference, not only in medical terms but also in terms of wellbeing and happiness, by trying to improve the quality of life for the children on the ward.

“I hope that the apprentices could see from their visit how the money that they have raised will be used and that it inspires them in the work they do in the future.”

YHN apprentices and Fab Flournoy at the CHUF

YHN apprentices and Fab Flournoy at the CHUF

Your Homes Newcastle employs 16-24 year olds living in the homes it manages on twelve-month apprenticeship contracts in a range of areas from business administration to warehousing. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact the Employability Team on 0191 278 8600 or via employabilityteam@yhn.org.uk  Further information is also available here.