One of the West Midlands leading charities for supporting children with physical disabilities is celebrating a major funding milestone thanks to the generosity of a local wire manufacturer.
The Chris Westwood Charity, which helps fund the purchase of mobility, sensory and vision equipment for children living within a 50-mile radius of Stourbridge, has become the latest beneficiary of Alloy Wire International’s (AWI) ‘Wired for Good’ campaign.
A £7,500 donation has taken the organisation’s total fundraising to over £1m since it was started by Chris Westwood eighteen years ago, with all the proceeds going towards supporting 850 young people to live more independent lives.
The AWI money has already been allocated to four recipients, who will receive life-changing special car seats and exercise trikes to help them in overcoming transportation issues and in building strength and stamina.
(l-r) Chris Westwood with Mark Venables, MD of Alloy Wire International
“As part of our 75th birthday celebrations we wanted to create a positive legacy for the big milestone, so committed to becoming carbon neutral (already achieved) and agreed to donate to four local charities,” explained Mark Venables, Managing Director of Alloy Wire International.
“We had supported the Chris Westwood Charity for Children with Physical Disabilities in 2018 and were really impressed with the fact that every penny donated goes towards the individuals who need it most.”
He continued: “The grants are quickly reviewed, and the money given direct to suppliers to help parents purchase vital equipment that will help their children live as independent a life as possible. It’s even better news that our donation was the one that took Chris and the Trustees past the magical £1m mark, a truly fantastic achievement.”
Like many charities, The Chris Westwood Charity for Children with Physical Disabilities has endured a tough 18 months due to the pandemic, with many fundraising events being cancelled and day-to-day assessments being delayed due to the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Despite the restrictions, the organisation has managed to catch-up with all the applications and is still on course to award £100,000 of grants this year to aid mobility or provide comfort for those with severe life limiting conditions.
Chris Westwood, who has already pledged to leave his own estate to the charity, continued: “Typically, we fund anything from walkers, standing frames and specialist car seats to exercise trikes, hoists, sensory equipment and vision aids.
“These are all things that the NHS doesn’t always fund or only funds part of, leaving children unable to take part in day-to-day life or get the care they really need. Speed is key too, with quick decisions made on the grants we give to ensure that the child has the best possible chance of making a recovery or to prevent their condition from worsening.”
He concluded: “Support from companies like Alloy Wire International is crucial, especially following the recent pandemic and we’re delighted that a Black Country firm’s contribution has taken us past £1m raised since 2003.
“The next target is to raise another £1m and continue our work in helping children with physical disabilities.”
Alloy Wire International, which manufactures round, flat and profile wire for more than 5,000 customers, was founded in 1946 by John Stockdale in an old ambulance station in Old Hill in the Black Country.
The company’s founding principles of ‘manufacturing quality, delivering reliability’ has stood the test of time and still remains a crucial part of how it deals with its global client base, spanning automotive, aerospace, medical, nuclear and oil and gas.
Today, the firm is employee-owned with most of the staff owning shares in the business, a decision made by existing Chairman Bill Graham and the current Senior Management Team.
This inclusive culture has been crucial in helping AWI more than double turnover from £5m to £11m in the last 13 years.