After a 14-month delay at the hands of COVID, David Robertson, Head of Field Transformation at Scottish Gas, finally took a leap from a plane at Fife Airport in Glenrothes this week to raise vital funds for CHAS.
David was joined by Chris O’Shea, CEO of Scottish Gas’ parent company Centrica, for a tandem jump from 10,000ft courtesy of Skydive St Andrews.
The skydive is part of a unique collaboration between the energy services provider and Children's Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) which launched at the start of last year. The 1,000 strong team have so far raised more than £30k for CHAS through a number of in-person and virtual events.
"I'm delighted that colleagues at Scottish Gas have fully supported CHAS over the past two years in challenging circumstances - we're all proud to be part such a great cause"
David Robertson, Head of Field Transformation at Scottish Gas
The business donated PPE to CHAS care staff when supplies were scarce at the start of the pandemic and engineers have rallied together on a number of occasions to deliver food and activity packs to shielding families all over the country.
Speaking about his challenge, David, who lives in East Wemyss in Fife with his wife and two children, said: “The team at CHAS asked me to get involved in the skydive, and I couldn't refuse, albeit I have a fear of heights, so this was a real challenge for me. I couldn't think of a better charity to support, and I've enjoyed getting my family involved in raising money for this event. I'm also delighted that colleagues at Scottish Gas have fully supported CHAS over the past two years in challenging circumstances - we're all proud to be part such a great cause.”
Chris, who was born and raised in Glenrothes, added: “At Scottish Gas, we have a long-standing relationship with CHAS and are proud to support the excellent work they do to help families when it matters most. As well as raising money for this fantastic cause, being able to do a skydive over Glenrothes, where I lived until I was 11, was a real treat.”
"As well as raising money for this fantastic cause, being able to do a skydive over Glenrothes, where I lived until I was 11, was a real treat"
Chris O’Shea, Centrica Chief Executive
In addition to future fundraising events planned for the months ahead, the team will soon be offering their gas and energy services to CHAS families and volunteering their time to carry out this work. Centrica wants to inspire staff to volunteer a total of 100,000 days by 2030 and this partnership will be a key part in doing so, providing a variety of year-round opportunities to make a positive impact in their local communities.
Megan Stobo, Senior Corporate Partnerships Executive at CHAS, said: “The support that the Scottish Gas team have shown to CHAS over the past year and a half has been outstanding and despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, the collaboration is going from strength to strength.
“Employees across the region are incredibly passionate about our work and are committed to helping CHAS reach even more families. We have exciting plans for the future so watch this space!”
CHAS is the only charity in Scotland that provides hospice services for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions. The national charity offers palliative care and respite for the whole family via its two hospices, Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch. The CHAS at Home service supports families in their own homes across the whole of Scotland and has teams working in communities and hospitals across the country.
Like many other charities left reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, CHAS has had to dramatically transform the way in which it provides its increasingly important services. They have set up Scotland’s first ever virtual hospice to support children and families who are having to completely self-isolate.
The virtual hospice has now been operational for 16 months, offering families extensive assistance, whether it relates to clinical guidance, financial advice or bereavement support, by video and phone. CHAS family support teams are also offering an expanding range of interactive activities, art clubs, storytelling and conference calls to children and parents, with more in the pipeline.
Although safeguarding is very much in place as lockdown measures continue to ease, children needing urgent physical and end of life care are welcomed at both Rachel and Robin House, where staff continue to work tirelessly to provide palliative assistance to them and their families in a comfortable environment.
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