Like every sports facility, visitors to Northumbria University’s Sport Central occasionally leave items behind after competing or training.
The University’s £30 million state-of-the-art sports hub on Northumberland Road in Newcastle opened in September 2010 and regularly has in excess of 40,000 visits per month.
Most mislaid items are claimed but when small change falls from pockets, or is accidently left in locker doors, the loss often goes unnoticed.
However University staff are ensuring those unclaimed pennies are put to good use helping others by collecting it and making regular donations to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Bob Brown, Sport Supervisor, says: “We don’t know for sure how much we’ve donated over the years. Certainly it will be many hundreds of pounds and all from small change.
“We thought we should help out. The money wasn’t ours to begin with, it was just lost. So we thought we’d donate it and put it to good use.”
The money is collected in what the Sport Central team call ‘Bobby’s Bottle.’ When the bottle is full, usually about three times a year, they donate the money to the charity and then begin the collection again.
Bob adds: “There are more than 50 staff working here and they all put lost change in Bobby’s Bottle.
“Everyone knows someone affected by cancer and it feels like we’re doing something important with the money. We hope it will help make a difference for people in the North East with cancer.”
Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer – including the clinical trials of new drugs.
It has now raised over £7million and the vast majority of that money comes to the charity in relatively small amounts through donations and community fundraising efforts.
Lady Elsie says: “I hope all the visitors to Sport Central will agree this is a good way to use the small change they occasionally misplace.
“It’s easily done, and while I would always urge people to look after their things carefully, I’m glad the lost money will go towards helping other people.
“I’d like to thank Bob and the staff at Sport Central for thinking of us.”