Apprentices and staff at Remit’s Automotive Academy have donated £600 to their latest chosen charity, thanks to loose change collections from ‘dress down Friday’.

The academy, based in the heart of Derby, opened its doors two years ago to motor industry apprentices from all over the country, who attend for week-long blocks of training.

Every Friday it has become a tradition at the Academy to have a dress down day. Apprentices are invited to wear their casual clothes rather than the smart shirts and trousers they are expected to wear for the rest of the week. In exchange, they are given the opportunity to make a cash donation to the ‘charity tin’.

Every few months the money is collected together and donated to a worthy charity. The charities are decided on by the apprentices and Remit colleagues, who make their own suggestions, often based on personal experiences.

On the same week that we mark World Mental Health Day (10th October), Remit’s latest collection has been donated to suicide prevention charity, Papyrus.

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people – male and female – under 35 in the UK. Every year many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

Over the last few months, the Academy has raised £600 for Papyrus. The money was presented to Melanie Griffin a Community Suicide Prevention Adviser from the charity earlier this week. She met with all of the apprentices to talk about the charity’s work, and how their donation would be used.

Melanie tragically lost her sister eight years ago at the age of 13 to suicide, so she understands all too well the impact on individuals and their families. She said: “Thank you so much to Remit and its apprentices for the kind donation. The money will be used to help us in our mission to help support young people with their thoughts of suicide and prevent young suicides.

“We exist to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by shattering the stigma around suicide and equipping young people and their communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.” 

Over the last two years Remit’s dress down charity tin has raised over £2,000 for worthwhile causes. 

Mick Pilling, Automotive Development Director at Remit Group, handed over the money to Melanie, on behalf of apprentices and Remit colleagues. He added: “I’m so incredibly proud of our apprentices and colleagues at the Academy. It’s just a small donation to the charity tin every Friday, but what a difference it has made to five different worthwhile causes so far. Our numbers attending the Academy are growing significantly and with that will inevitably come more opportunity to collect and donate.

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“It was a pleasure to meet Melanie and we were very grateful to her for sharing her story and explaining the work Papyrus does. We work with hundreds of young people every year and we know that life isn’t always easy. We strongly support the work charities like Papyrus do in trying to prevent suicide and supporting young people across the country. We hope our donation can make a real difference.”

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