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How Vertu Motors’ donation helped a charity’s COVID-19 response

Joanne O'Connor, director of Junction 42 with Robert Forrester, chief executive of Vertu Motors

Prisoners' welfare charity Junction 42 has revealed how a £140,000 donation from car retail group Vertu Motors has helped with its work.

The Newcastle-based charity supports the welfare of prisoners while they are serving their sentences, as well as helping them reintegrate back into society on their release.

Half of the money donated by the AM100 PLC has supported the charity’s ‘Stories of Hope’ packs scheme, which was first started as a response to COVID-19 restrictions, which saw most prisoners confined to their cells for most of the day.

The charity procured 200,000 items to makes 19,211 packs, which included a prayer journal, a faith-based musical CD, a United Christian Broadcasters’ Word for Today, inspiring life story testimonies, and a Prison Fellowship bookmark.

Joanne O’Connor, director at Junction 42, said: “We launched the worship packs in response to the pandemic when a lot of prisoners were confined to their cells for 23-and-a-half hours a day, with no access to the chapel, services or other faith resources.

“The idea was to reach out to men and women in their cells to keep them spiritually sustained and engaged, and to help minimise frustration, anxiety, and depression.

“This scheme, and other work that we do, would not be possible without the generous support of organisations such as Vertu Motors.”

The packs are distributed every three months to anyone who would like to receive one while in prison in England and Scotland. Junction 42 aims to distribute 80,000 packs this year, Vertu said.

Robert Forrester, chief executive of Vertu Motors, said: “Junction 42 offers support and hope to people when they are at their lowest ebb.

“The charity’s agility in adapting their support, to meet changing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, is to be commended.

“Fundamental to our group’s culture is looking at how we can help organisations in the wider community make a difference; we are delighted that our donation to Junction 42 is part of that.”

Vertu Motors has said that it remains focused on the delivery of operational excellence around cost, conversion and customer experience as car retail’s headwinds deliver uncertain H2 outlook.

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