Staff donations come at a critical time for Durham Foodbank

Generous staff at a Great Annual Savings (GAS) have helped provide 350 meals for vulnerable Foodbank users at a critical time.

The Charity Committee organised a month-long collection from staff as part of its 12-month Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, which raised more than £300 worth of food.

This coincides with the rollout of the government’s Universal Credit policy, which could see vulnerable families go up to eight weeks in and around October before they receive their benefits.

GAS, which helps other businesses reduce their outgoing running costs, has pledged to help four North East charities with a year of fundraising efforts.  The campaign’s aim is to have a tangible and measurable effect on those who need it in the region.

The beneficiary of this particular collection was Durham Foodbank, who will distribute the food around its surrounding affiliates and visitors.  One in four families in County Durham live in poverty* and the imminent rollout of Universal Credit is set to stretch this vital provision to its limits.

The Charity Committee delivered the 278kg donation on Wednesday 4 October and helped the volunteers at the distribution centre sort the food ready for use.

Kelly Smith, Food Distribution Manager, said: “The staff at GAS are absolutely amazing and we’d like to thank them so much.

“I’m completely blown away by the donation, which is more than treble what I expected when the company made contact with us.  It’s a massive achievement.

“Providing meals for more than 300 people in the region is testament to what can be achieved when people put their minds to something.

“We look forward to seeing GAS again around Christmas time.”


The other three beneficiaries of GAS’ CSR strategy are Sunderland-based animal rescue and rehoming charity ‘Animal Krackers’; Pelton-based child disability therapy charity ‘Heel and Toe’; and friendship dog providers ‘Wag and Co’.

Ricky Mingle, Chairman of the GAS Charity Committee, said: “As a collective, our staff are getting behind our efforts, as they always have in the past.

“Helping hundreds of people who will really be struggling in the run up to the festive season feels great and we’ll be doing plenty more to help the Foodbank over the coming months.

“Kelly and the other volunteers provide a critical service and we would like to thank them for the advice they provided for our collection and the work they do for the community.

“I’d also like to personally thank our staff, who we can always count on.

“We’ve donated a significant amount to local charities in the past, but as part of our 12-month strategy we’re going to be able to measure the socio-economic value of our efforts and lend a hand to four deserving charities.”

To find out more about our charity committee and the organisations they support, please click here.

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.