Bradford Garden Centre raises over £7500 for Batley mental health charity

In a year that saw spiraling mental health issues throughout the community, a Bradford garden centre has raised £7557 for a Batley based charity that offers free training sessions to help promote physical and mental wellbeing.

Colleagues and customers at Tong Garden Centre raised the funds for their 2021 Charity of the Year, ‘Luke’s Lads’ and sister charity, ‘Butterflies’ through a series of fund-raising events and collection boxes at the tills.

The Charity of the Year fundraising is managed by a committee led by the People and Culture team at the Tong Lane site. People and Culture Business Partner, Becki Smith said: “Male suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, with many men suffering in silence when they experience feelings of sadness, loneliness or anxiety.

“We’re delighted to have raised over £7,500 for such deserving causes. We would like to thank all of our colleagues and customers who supported everything from mammoth sporting events including a virtual walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats and an 80k cycle challenge to raffles and a festive bake-off competition.”

Luke’s Lads was established in 2018 after local man Luke Naylor committed suicide following a battle with mental health and depression. It was set up by his best friend, Elliot Gorman and his mother, Rachel Walmsley with the support of Luke’s family to give people a safe place to express their feelings, get active and help promote physical and mental wellbeing. Both groups are supported by the charity TCD – Tackling social isolation in the Community through Diverse activities and Mr. Gorman is its chairperson.

“TCD would like to offer our most sincere thanks to Tong Garden Centre, who chose to support Luke’s Lads and Butterflies throughout 2021. All of their hard work and the efforts of staff who took part in fund raising activities throughout the year raised over £7,500 – an amazing amount! This will fund three months’ worth of sessions for all of our groups – Luke’s Lads, Luke’s Lads Juniors and Luke’s Lads 16-19, Butterflies, Butterflies Juniors and Butterflies 16-19.

“Because of this generous donation, we can offer our sessions free of charge to those who need them. Thanks again, Tong Garden Centre. Your efforts have blown us away!” said Luke’s Lads co-founder, Mr. Gorman.

Since Tong Garden Centre was acquired by new owners in 2015, the team and supporters have raised over £47,500. Previous beneficiaries of Tong’s Charity of the Year initiative include Martin House Hospice, The Cellar Trust, Candlelighters and National Literacy Trust. In addition, the team has supported hundreds of smaller charities in the local community.

Tong Garden Centre occupies a 19 acre site in Tong village. It is one of Yorkshire’s biggest independent garden centres with 125,000 square feet of retail space and parking for up to 700 cars.