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Stagecoach customers thanked for supporting major donation to Demelza Hospice Care for Children

08 Jun 2021

Bus operator Stagecoach South East has thanked its passengers for helping to raise more than £75,000 for Demelza Hospice Care for Children.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Stagecoach reduced cash handling on its services in Kent and East Sussex as part of a range of measures to minimise transmission of Covid-19 and help protect its customers and colleagues.

As a temporary policy, cash overpayments were directed to Demelza – a charity providing specialist care and emotional support for children with serious or terminal conditions and their families in Kent, East Sussex, and South East London.

Demelza is almost entirely dependent on the generosity of its supporters to provide the funds to keep services going. The cancellation or postponement of fundraising events and closure of retail shops during the pandemic has had a huge impact on the charity’s income.

But now, Demelza has received a donation of £75,870.07 thanks to the support of Stagecoach customers who parted with their change when the exact fare scheme was in place.

Almost 50,000 children are living with serious or terminal conditions in the UK.  And as more children live longer with complex conditions, there’s an increasingly urgent need to support them and their families.

This unique support comes at a price, and the donation could be used to fund 1,522 hours of care for children and young people with a serious or terminal condition by specialist children’s nurses or fund two children’s nurses for an entire year.

Lavinia Jarrett, Chief Executive at Demelza, said: “A huge thank you to Stagecoach customers across the South East who have raised over £75,000 for us as a result of the exact fare scheme which ran throughout lockdown restrictions.

“This incredible amount could help fund the salaries of two highly skilled hospice nurses to support the children and young people who use our services.

“We’re excited to be working with the Stagecoach team again this year – last year’s restrictions meant the team couldn’t undertake planned fundraising initiatives so they have pledged to support us for another year.”

In 2020, the transport operator celebrated its partnership with Demelza with the unveiling of a specially branded bus. 

The double-decker bus – which features Demelza’s distinctive clown and red dot design – has been serving routes across East Kent following its unveiling at the charity’s Sittingbourne Hospice last year.

Stagecoach has pledged to continue its partnership with Demelza for an additional year, as lockdown restrictions and limits on social gatherings last year led to the cancellation of planned fundraising events.

In line with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown and decreasing infection rates across the country, the company is now back to issuing change on its buses. Customers are still asked to use contactless, mobile, pre-payment methods or have exact change for their fare wherever possible.

Joel Mitchell, Managing Director at Stagecoach South East, said: "We introduced the measure as part of a whole range of responses to the pandemic to help protect our customers and our colleagues.

“One of the big positives to come out of the past year has been the huge financial support this scheme has provided to Demelza Hospice Care for Children.

“We would like to say a big thank you to all our customers for raising such a fantastic amount for the charity during a time when their fundraising revenue has been severely squeezed.”

Dotty and Demelza Dotty Bus