The boxing gym uses Thompsons Bulding Centres' premises for free. Photo, courtesy ITV News.

Thompsons' boss on TV for her community

Published:  19 September, 2012

TYNE & WEAR: Anne Ganley, the managing director of Thompson Building Centres appeared on the nation's TV screens last night in ITV News at Ten's report 'Looking for the Big Society in Sunderland'.

Penny Marshall, the programme's social affairs editor, took viewers through the decline of a once great region. She was assessing the impact of the recession and the cuts on the community and to see if the Government's vision of a 'Big Society' is becoming a reality.

Sunderland is a region where one in four of the children is living in relative poverty according to the council, and unemployment in the ward of Hendon where the East End is situated, stands at 12.8%. It rose 19% between 2011 and 2012.

"Joblessness has taken its toll on the morale and confidence of the residents. According to statistics from the North East Public Health Observatory, 20% of people over 18 in Sunderland suffer from depression; the highest rate in England," Ms Marshall reported.

"Wealthy businesswoman Anne Ganley gives it meaning, though. She is someone with space and money to give away. She has just agreed to allow a struggling East End boxing gym to take over part of her business premises for nothing," Ms Marshall explained.

Said Mrs Ganley: "When the recession hit I needed less space, so I've turned a negative into a positive."

The top merchant manager was born and bred in the East End and has for many years been working on a number of projects that "give back something to the community. Others should do this, too," she said.

Mrs Ganley has been praised for her work helping women leaving prison on their road to employment, and last summer, Thompson Building Centres agreed to be the main sponsor of a three-day Armed Forces event planned on Wearside to support the armed services.

Anne Ganley: helping the community.

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