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SOS Group
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Smart Office Systems Ltd is an independent leader in providing printers, copiers, MFDs, Document Management Solutions and support services.
Smart Office Systems Ltd is an independent leader in providing printers, copiers, MFDs, Document Management Solutions and support services.

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Outstanding Charity Support To Small to Medium Companies

Small company, BIG impact. SOS Group Ltd win at the North East Charity Awards “Outstanding Charity Support – Small to Medium Companies”




The Children’s Foundation is immensely proud of SOS for winning the award and to find out why SOS Group Ltd is so special to us here’s our nomination for the awards:
SOS first began to support to The Children’s Foundation back in 2014 when they became the headline sponsor for Run Geordie Run (RGR). The bond was formed after company director, Andrew, heard Mark Allison speak about his fundraising, was inspired and wondered why they hadn’t been a part of the journey sooner
Andrew Skelton
The partnership between SOS group and The Children’s Foundation is driven by the directors of SOS. They always want to engage with our projects and beneficiaries and are always looking to see what they can do next. For a number of years SOS group have donated Easter eggs and Bunnies to be handed out to children in the Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH). Last year SOS Director, Andrew Skelton even accompanied the Clown Drs (a project supported by The Children’s Foundation) round the GNCH to hand out Easter Eggs himself to children on the wards.
SOS Group goes above and beyond in terms of support to The Children’s Foundation.


Where some organisations stop at financial support, this is where SOS group begin. They have become ambassadors for the charity and are so motivated and passionate for the cause. The team are extremely approachable, always willing to hear our ideas and willing to consider our requests.







 
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SOS SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN’S DISABILITY TRIATHLON


While the phenomenal Brownlee brothers are Olympic medal winners, here in the North East we have our own extremely special triathletes.
Now in its fourth year, The Children’s Disability Triathlon in Newcastle is an event designed especially for children who would normally be challenged by the thought of doing a triathlon.
Created by Jo Shallcross and Tracey Sample, it gives children with disabilities the chance to take part in a traditional triathlon – swimming, cycling and running – by adapting distances according to ability and with all the support they need.
Jo, from Ponteland, is a coach and director of The Barn [fitness business]. She has raced triathlon for Great Britain and now mainly races Ironman or 70.3 (half Ironman).
Jo says: “This is an event we’re extremely proud of. It’s a wonderfully relaxed and positive day and the enthusiasm of everyone involved has to be seen to be believed.
“For our athletes, it’s all about taking part, building confidence and doing something they may think they can’t do. They’re just bursting with pride afterwards.
“We can adapt the triathlon for any disability by adjusting distances, incorporating specialist equipment and support. What’s important is getting every child who wants to take part involved and we get wonderful feedback from parents and carers.”
Team Valley-based print management company, SOS Group Ltd, is proudly supporting The Children’s Disability Triathlon this year by sponsoring medals and t-shirts for all participants.
Andrew Skelton, director at SOS Group, says: “It means a lot to us to be involved with this wonderful triathlon.
“The participants deserve recognition for their efforts and we’re very glad to help by giving them something to remember the day by.
“We’re told some of the children went to sleep wearing their triathlon t-shirts last year and just full of what they’ve achieved. That’s what this event is all about.”
SOS Group has a longstanding tradition of local charity support. They are the key sponsor for fundraiser Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison and long-time supporters of Special Olympics Gateshead.
Macey Cowell from Kingston Park is 13-years-old and has taken part in all three previous Children’s Disability Triathlons.
She is a pupil at Percy Hedley School and has a neurological condition, cerebellar hypoplasia, which affects her speech, balance and behaviour.
Macey’s mum, Lisa Scott, says: “Most parents and children take for granted that they can all enjoy this kind of day together.
“It’s such a relaxed event and to see Macey involved is such a joy. She absolutely loves it and I’m really proud of her.”
Macey says: “I love taking part. It’s a very big thing for me. I like the swimming, cycling and running all the same. It’s hard but worth it in the end.”
Based at the David Lloyd Club in Gosforth, The Children’s Disability Triathlon supports the Heel and Toe Charity, with some participants choosing to be sponsored for taking part for this and other charities.
The Children’s Disability Triathlon is on Sunday 18th September and is for children between the ages of 5 – 16. Entry costs £20 to enter with the last registrations on 16th September.
For further information about the event, or to book a place, please visit: www.britishtriathlon.org/events or email joannashallx@gmail.com.
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SOS Director Helping Out in the Local Community with this Biker Buddies
George Director of SOS Group and Vice President of the  Northumberland Chapter of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association, stepped up. They’d raised money for Callum in the past, when the McGilligans sought help providing Callum with a ‘bucket list’ of special experiences for the youngster.
George Young, Vice President of the chapter, said: “We were asked if we would contribute, or attend a fundraiser for the tricycle, but we decided to buy the whole thing. We thought this would mean an awful lot to him, because it will help him be more mobile on his own. We know he likes bikes, we’ve all let him sit on our bikes at events we’ve been at before, and I think it’s quite poignant that bikers present Callum with a bike of his own.”

 
Chronicle Live
 
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RUN GEORDIE RUN RETURNS HOME
In April, Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison left his native North East to begin his journey to Portugal – and the start line for his 2,650 mile charity run across Europe.
Today, (28th July) the software developer from Bedlington, Northumberland, returned home having raised £42,520 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children’s Foundation.
His European run, sponsored by SOS Group Ltd., was 2,650 miles and 83 days long and included both the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges.

Beginning in Lisbon, Portugal, Mark ran around 38 miles a day and finished in Belgrade, Serbia, on Friday (22 July).
He is happy to be back on home soil, looking forward to seeing his son, Jack, and says his achievements haven’t really sunk in yet.
Mark says: “I’m not at the point where I can relax properly yet.
“It’s hard to explain how strange it feels when I wake up each morning.  For weeks and weeks, all I’ve known is eat, sleep, run, so I’m having to adjust to the ‘real world’ again.
“No doubt things will begin to feel more normal when I get home.  I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed and have a shower that works.  Some home comforts will be very welcome.
“The Europe run was a huge effort and far harder than I thought it would be.  Not just for me, for the fantastic volunteer support team too.
“I’m proud to have successfully completed the run, which at times wasn’t 100 per cent likely to happen.  It’s been tremendously hard and I couldn’t have done it without all the donations and messages of support I’ve received.”

This run was the latest leg in Mark’s Run Geordie Run Around the World challenge, which has raised over £250,000 for charities to date.
He has now run halfway around the world, 9,000 miles, including the length of the UK, the width of the USA, Australia and Europe.
The European leg took him through Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.  The end was originally Istanbul but, because of the situation in Turkey, Mark finished in Belgrade.
Belgrade now gives Mark the option to run north or south of the Black Sea when he starts the next stage of his Around the World Run, hopefully in 2018, which will go through Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan (ending in Astana).

Mark adds: “The welcome and support we got in Belgrade was just amazing.
“There was a ‘finish line’ of children who are being helped by a local charity and then the British Ambassador to Serbia let me have a bath at the Embassy.  And I’ll be the first to admit I really needed to bathe.
“We met some amazing people on our travels and I’ll have plenty of stories to share at our charity ball in October.

“It’s been a privilege to experience so many different European countries in such an usual way.  I’d like to go back to visit them again when I’m on an actual holiday though.
“For now, I’ll be going back to work and winding down, physically, but I’m already planning the next run.  It’s probably too soon to admit that in front of my wife though.”
On behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Lady Elsie says: “I hope Mark is very proud of what he’s achieved with this run.  He really should be.
“We’re all very proud of him.  It’s an absolutely marvellous achievement.
“We’re lucky to have Mark as a supporter of our work and very grateful to him and everyone who’s helped him along the way.
“I don’t know where he finds the energy to run so far.  It’s simply amazing.  And we’ll make sure every penny donated to us through Mark’s running is used in the very best way possible.”
 Jonathan Clegg from The Children’s Foundation says: “We’re all so proud of Run Geordie Run completing his latest challenge and it’s an honour to have him as our ambassador.
“Mark has raised an exceptional amount over the years for The Children’s Foundation, and to raise over £40,000 for the two charities throughout Europe alone is a fantastic achievement.
“The money raised will support children and young people here in the North East and will help us to tackle the distress, disability and disadvantage they face.  It will not only enable us to continue our current projects, but helps us to engage with the wider community.”
 
Well done Mark from all the Directors and Staff of SOS Group.
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Director has another women in his life
Andrew Skelton has become a proud Grandad this week to a baby girl called Harper Jane.
Congratulations from everyone at SOS
 

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SOS GROUP AND HITACHI RAIL ON TRACK
A business relationship with Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd (HRE) that began in London and grew to cover the rest of the country has now ‘come home’ for Team Valley-based SOS Group Ltd. The print management company became an HRE Approved Supplier in 2012 when it won the contract to service Hitachi Rail Europe’s headquarters in Holborn. The partnership proved a great success and SOS now work with HRE’s operational sites in London Holborn, London North Pole Depot, London Bridge, Melton Mowbray, Milton Keynes, Stoke Gifford and the company’s new flagship manufacturing base at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

George Young, director at SOS Group, says: “Having worked very closely with Hitachi Rail at their operations all across the country, for us, it’s a huge positive to now be working with them so close to home too. We first won the contract to provide their print management services when Hitachi Rail opened their global HQ in London and our relationship has developed from there. It’s fantastic to see the investment Hitachi is making in the UK, and especially in the North East. We’re far from alone in benefiting from the company’s decision to bring rail manufacture back to its birthplace in this region and very proud to have begun working with Hitachi Rail before that step was even taken.”

Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Europe, Ltd. and is a total railway system supplier offering rolling stock, traction equipment, signalling, traffic management systems, and maintenance depots. Hitachi’s £82 million Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility at Newton Aycliffe was opened by the Prime Minister in September 2015 and is where the new InterCity Express trains for the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line, and the AT200 commuter trains for Scotland, will now be made.

Malcolm Brown, IT Manager, Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “It’s great that a local print management supplier based in North East has been appointed for our flagship facility in Newton Aycliffe. The SOS team always respond quickly, and have been flexible and helpful in what has been an ever-changing, growing environment, establishing, and then moving, print facilities from three temporary locations to the facility where we now reside. Sales support is not just ‘sales’ but finding something that best suits a customer’s needs, short term and longer term. The SOS group has worked closely with us on this journey and I am confident our relationship will go from strength to strength over the coming years.”

SOS Group Ltd launched in 2002 to supply digital office equipment, related software and support. Based on the Team Valley, the company also has an office in Bristol and services ‘blue chip’ clients nationally and, increasingly, internationally. It employs 23 staff and services include document management, scanning, cost consultation, managed print services and supplying and maintaining leading brand digital office equipment. It is an accredited Kyocera UK agent and Lexmark approved partner. The firm has a longstanding tradition of local charity support and is the key sponsor for fundraiser Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison as he continues his Around the World running challenge.
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Run Geordie Run's Euro Run Starts

Today is day 3 of Mark ‘Run Geordie Run` Allison 3,400 mile run across Europe to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children`s Foundation

The 44-year-old software developer has set himself the phenomenal charity challenge of running 20,000 miles around the world and in order to complete the Europe segment of the run, he will need to run 38 miles almost every day for the next 100 days.

The Europe run, sponsored by SOS Group Ltd., is 300 miles further than his run across America and, incredibly, will be completed in the same number of days. The route takes him through 14 countries and includes the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges, one Giro d’Italia and 15 Tour de France climbs.

For more information about Run Geordie Run Around the World please visit www.rungeordierun.com and follow Mark on Twitter @RunGeordieRun

If you would like to donate to the two charities, The Children`s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun







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‘RUN GEORDIE RUN’ SPONSOR GOES THE EXTRA MILE
Endurance runner and charity fundraiser Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison will set off on the next leg of his Around the World challenge in May, with a vital and dedicated team of volunteers to support him. 
The next segment of Mark’s incredible run is Lisbon, Portugal, to Istanbul, Turkey – 3,400 punishing miles across mountain ranges and international borders, sleeping in a motor home and facing a host of daily challenges.

Before he could even consider taking on this next run, Mark needed to secure a headline sponsor to help cover necessary travel expenses and increase charity fundraising opportunities.  
He also needed to bring together a team of volunteers who both shared his vision and had the required skills and attitude to help him complete this difficult feat of endurance. 
Fortunately, in meeting Team Valley-based office technology and services company, SOS Group Ltd., he found both a headline sponsor and a committed support team member in company Director, Andrew Skelton. 
Mark, originally from Washington, then Shotley Bridge and now living in Bedlington, explains: “I first met Andrew and his fellow SOS Group directors at a student awards night where I was the guest speaker.  They were very interested in my fundraising and how I was going about it and things just went from there.
 
“They’re a tremendous help.  I’ve previously self-financed charity runs and it’s a huge strain.  To have a company come in and take that load off me, when there’s already so much preparation, training and planning required, is simply fantastic.”
 
SOS Group’s support for Mark’s charity efforts go far beyond financial support.  Director Andrew Skelton, 46 from Newcastle, was so inspired by the Around the World Run challenge that he decided to get more personally involved and join the Support Team in Europe. 
The father of three is the first to admit he needed to make some lifestyle changes.  Working long hours and travelling meant healthy eating and exercise had taken a back seat for too long. 
Getting fit to join the Support Team and join Mark on the road is now motivating Andrew to lose weight and he is working hard with both David Fairlamb Fitness and Mineral House, the luxury gym within Newcastle’s new Crowne Plaza Hotel. 
Andrew says: “I was as heavy as 19 stones last year and talking to Mark, hearing about his plans was inspirational for me.
 
“I’ve already lost two and half stones and I’m working hard to lose more.  I ran the Great North Run for the first time in 27 years last year and my aim is not only to be fit enough to provide support to Mark on the road, the driving, cooking etc, but to also run with him when he needs it. 
“To be able to run five or six miles with him over the course of a day would be a great thing for me and I hope having company will help him too.” 
Andrew is joining Mark twice over the course of the Europe run, for nine days starting in Vigo, Spain, and for eight days starting in Belgrade.  
Mineral House have kindly offered their support to Andrew at no cost and Susan Hall, spa and leisure manager, says: “We are delighted to support Andrew in his quest to get fit for such a fantastic course.” 
Like Mark, the Run Geordie Run Support Team consists entirely of unpaid volunteers who are taking time off work to join the challenge.  Paying for their own travel expenses, they will accompany and support Mark each day, helping him cope with the physical and mental pressures and providing vital encouragement as the miles take their toll. 
Mark’s Around the World Run is the continuation of previous charity runs down the UK and across the USA and Australia and he is raising money for two chosen charities, The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. 
Generous commercial sponsors, including SOS Group Ltd, are enabling Mark to raise additional charity funds through t-shirt sales and events, while sports therapists, fitness instructors and training partners are helping ensure he is preparing himself correctly for the tough challenge that lies ahead.   
Sponsors are also helping kit Mark out with the specialist equipment, dietary supplements and footwear required. 
In addition to headline sponsor SOS Group Ltd, Mark is receiving support from Fresh Freight Group, Chapman Ventilation, Cherry Active, Virgin Money and Sport Newcastle. 
It will take Mark until at least 2022 to finish the Round the World challenge and he will have to do it in eight segments as family life, work and finances permit. 
He will need to cover a total of 20,000 miles, over four continents and through 23 countries and it will take him approximately 608 days (1 year and 243 days) to complete. 
His challenge began, although he didn’t know it at that time, with his John O’Groats to Land’s End 874 mile run in 2007.  He has also already ‘ticked off’ the USA (2011) and Australia (2013), 3,100 miles and 2,384 miles respectively, but still has approximately 13,642 miles to go. 
The European leg brings its own set of challenges, not least running through 14 different countries.  Mark will begin on 1 May in Lisbon, Portugal, and will finish 100 days and 3,400 miles later in Istanbul, Turkey, on 8 August. The run is 300 miles longer than the USA and will be completed in the same number of days. 
The chosen route passes through Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. 
It includes both the Pyrenees and the Alps and will take in many huge climbs including the Stelvio Pass (9,045 feet) in the Italian Alps.  It is a huge step up from his previous runs in terms of distance and elevation and, as well as mental, physical and logistical difficulties, there will be language and cultural barriers to overcome.  
After Europe, Mark will tackle the Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan leg (2018), then China (2020), Japan (2021) and New Zealand (2022) – all timings are approximate and dependent on Mark’s circumstances. 
For more information about Run Geordie Run Around the World please visit www.rungeordierun.com / sosgroup-ltd and follow Mark on Twitter @RunGeordieRun. 
If you would like to donate to the two charities, The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun.
 
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