A fund paid into by generations of Corby steel workers to help cash-strapped employees has made its final donations to help others.
Corby Employee Benevolent Fund, known as The Scheme, held £70,000 and over the years had been paid into by hundreds of employees of Stewarts & Lloyds, British Steel and finally Tata Steel.
Bernard Curran, chairman of the scheme, said: “The Scheme provided many years of outstanding support to the workforce of Corby Tube Works, but modern improvements in social care made the scheme no longer relevant.
“The decision was made, by the remaining members of the scheme, to close it and gift the remaining money to four incredible charities.
“This was entirely consistent with the values of the scheme and the generosity of the Corby Tube workers.”
The team chose to split a large portion of the proceeds between two local hospices - Lakelands and Cransley - both are close to the site and have a long history of caring for former employees and their families.
Both Lakelands and Cransley hospices received £32,508.
Lakelands Hospice has chosen to put the funds towards erecting a permanent therapy suite to support the increasing demand for patient places.
Paul Marlow, Lakelands head of fundraising, said: “This is an incredible gesture, not only from Tata Steel Corby but from all the benevolent fund members both past and present who voted.
“This donation really highlights how the community comes together to support their hospice with one of the town’s largest employers and their workforce past and present recognising the vital role Lakelands plays in the Corby borough community.
“The funds donated will go towards building expansion plans at the hospice to increase the day patient capacity and to create more room to offer a wider range of complementary therapies.
“This structure will honour the scheme by placement of a plaque on the building.
At Cransley the donation is going towards vital equipment updates which will benefit the lives of patients.
Wendy Reason, director of income generation for Cransley Hospice, said: “We are absolutely delighted and exceedingly grateful that staff at Tata Steel have chosen to support Cransley Hospice.
“This very generous donation will have a real impact on our ability to provide help and support to patients and their families at a very difficult time.”
Smaller donations of £5,000 were made to homeless charity Nightlight and the Warwickshire and Northants Air Ambulance Service (WNAA).
Nightlight provides food and shelter throughout the winter for the homeless in Corby, while the WNAA provides rapid response to those in urgent medical need.
Reflecting on the closure of the scheme, Mr Curran added: “I am sure these donations will provide an ongoing legacy for the scheme and pay homage to those who have contributed to it throughout the years.”
Tata Steel said: “Support for the community around the Tata Steel’s Corby site is unaffected by a decision, by its membership, to bring to a close the Corby Benevolent Scheme - an employee-led scheme which was designed to provide the workers of the Corby Tube Works with financial assistance in times of need.”
Tata Steel in Corby will be continuing to support charities across the Corby area through its dedicated sponsorship and donation scheme.
Recently cash has been given to Beanfield Primary School which hosts a summer Fun Club for pupils during the school holidays.
Tata Steel’s donation enabled the school to take pupils on a trip to the seaside as well as buying art supplies.
Meanwhile the annual Tata Kids of Steel event goes from strength to strength.
This year more than 1,300 children aged between eight and 11 are due to take part in the mini-triathlon on Friday, September 20, at the Corby International Swimming Pool.
This will be the 13th Tata Kids of Steel event held in the area.