With shared experiences of cancer and loss, colleagues from Progress Housing Group raised more than £2,000 to the charities close to their heart.

Teams from the Group donated more than £1,000 to be split between the social housing provider’s own charity Key Unlocking Futures, Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and St Catherine's Hospice.

Progress Housing Group then matched the money, taking the total to more than £2,000.

Phil Bentley, lead joiner at Progress Housing Group, who organised the fundraising, said: "We were very aware of how the past two years had been difficult for us and how it must have been worse for others.

"Everyone was fantastic, generously donating more than £1,000, which the Group doubled, giving each charity £683.

"Rosemere and St Catherine's Hospice are very personal to me. My mum Kathleen had secondary lung cancer and was treated at Rosemere with radiation therapy nine years ago. She also spent her last 12 weeks at St Catherine's Hospice. What they provide is priceless, and I will personally always be in their debt.

“We are also keen to support Key and raise its profile, as it is a very worthwhile charity.”

Liam Cryer, a lead joiner at Progress Housing Group, chose Rosemere after the charity supported him in 2018 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The 27-year-old from Higher Walton said: "Being diagnosed with testicular cancer was an extremely difficult time in my life. After my surgery, I started three months of chemotherapy at Rosemere. Without Rosemere acting so efficiently with my treatment, I don't know where I would be today. To be able to give back to the charity that helped me so much means the world to me. I hope we continue to raise money for charities, especially Rosemere, in the future."

Key Unlocking Futures helps more than 1,500 people across Lancashire achieve their potential, supporting them to find employment and secure accommodation.

Jayne Allison, Business Development Manager at Key, said: "We are really grateful to the team at Progress Housing Group choosing to support us and spread the word about our work. It makes a huge difference and helps us be there for those going through tough times, providing anything from food parcels, support to find accommodation and counselling services."

Rosemere Cancer Foundation works to bring world class cancer treatments and services to patients from Lancashire and South Cumbria being treated at Rosemere Cancer Centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, and also at another eight local hospital cancer units across the two counties.

Yvonne Stott, community fundraiser for Rosemere Cancer Foundation, said: "We are thrilled to receive this donation. It's great to know there are brilliant local businesses such as Progress Housing Group seeking ways to make life better for the whole community."

Emily Carpenter, Community Engagement Officer at St Catherine's Hospice, said: "We're so grateful to Phil and the whole team for thinking of us and making this incredible donation.

“We have continued to provide specialist palliative and end-of-life care to local people at the hospice and in patients’ own homes throughout the pandemic, whilst providing bereavement and other forms of emotional support to families and loved ones.

"We simply wouldn't be able to help people experience a caring and supportive quality, end of life care without our communities' ongoing, amazing support. We are truly touched that the team at Progress Housing Group chose to donate their social event funds and that they encouraged their colleagues to back our cause and the other worthwhile charities."