A £40,000 donation made by Sytner has carried the automotive charity, Ben, over its urgent 'rallying cry' target of raising £0.5 million.
The £40,000 donation was unveiled during a planned video call and following the announcement, the charity revealed that the contribution tipped Ben over its £0.5m target, an initiative created to respond to the shortfall created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matt Wigginton, fundraising director at Ben, said: “We can’t begin to thank Sytner enough for their support over the years, including this latest donation which is very generous.
"Sytner’s donation also represents a key milestone as it has taken us over the halfway point on our road to £1m, to address the income shortfall that the charity faced in 2020."
As part of the sector's show of support for the charity, the RAC network and the Assurant Foundation made a £20,000 Christmas donation to Ben.
Teams of car dealership employees from across the JCT600 retail network also completed a 500-mile challenge in aid of Ben in the run-up to Christmas to smash their fundraising target.
Last year, Ben reported a 113% increase in the amount of people visiting mental health pages on its website and a 52% increase in demand for the charity’s services, all whilst battling the shortfall.
Sytner said it had supported Ben for nearly 27 years, championing the charity and its work to a 9,000-strong workforce and since establishing the relationship, Sytner colleagues, dealerships and divisions have contributed to the not-for-profit charity, but say the recent donation is the largest single contribution to date.
Melvin Rogers, director of human resources at Sytner Group, said: “The health and wellbeing of our colleagues is of the upmost importance and we’re pleased that our donation will allow Ben to continue the fantastic support that they offer to everyone within Sytner and the wider automotive industry.
“This year has been especially tough for colleagues, so the services that Ben offer are now even more vital than ever.
"We’re proud to continue our support of Ben and that our donation was able to push them over their target at a time they need it most.”
Last year, AM reported that Ben received pledges approaching its £0.5m target following the appeal for support in November.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) donated £20,000 to the charity, joining TrustFord which also donated £20,000.
Auto Trader and Chorley Group also responded to the plea, each delivering five-figure donations to the charity.
Marshall Motor Holdings, meanwhile, pledged a £10,000 donation to Ben as part of a 'Xmas Do-nation' charity campaign launched by MotorVise to plug the charity's funding shortfall.
Wigginton added: "With the help of our incredible industry, we have now reached over £0.5m following our urgent rallying cry for support in November last year.
"Automotive people need us more than ever right now and we couldn’t do what we do without the support of our industry.
"This support is absolutely vital so that no-one in automotive faces life’s toughest challenges alone. A huge, heartfelt thank you to Sytner and our automotive industry.”