THE drive to raise desperately needed funds has prompted five charities to come together to encourage employees to support payroll giving.

Sir Digby Jones, Director General of the CBI, lead the celebrations at the breakfast launch of Five of Hearts’ Payroll Giving Consortium when more than 70 guests, representing businesses from across the West Midlands, were given an insight into how the scheme can benefit charities.

The Five of Hearts was founded by some of Birmingham’s favourite charities to take advantage of the current initiatives available to companies if they promote payroll giving to their employees.

All donations made to the Five of Hearts are split evenly between its members - Acorns Children’s Hospice, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham Focus on Blindness, the Birmingham Foundation and St Basil's, the charity that supports young people facing homelessness.

Sir Digby stressed how important it was more businesses came on board. He said: “We have more to gain by joining together in this pay roll initiative.  Let's get to the source of the money before it gets taxed.  People need a little encouragement to sign up which is what the Five of Hearts team will be doing but I can tell you that once they do they will feel so noble and be telling everybody what they are doing for their local community.

“It's painless, it feels good and it is going to help people who quite frankly would love to have the problems we have."

He added: “The business community doesn't just make a difference, if we get it right it makes the difference.”

Stephanie O’Sullivan, Chair of the Trustees, said: “All donations get immediate tax relief and it’s really easy to do. All you do is fill out a one-page form nominating your favoured charity, but the sense of pride and happiness gained from being a regular charity donor is immeasurable.

“We really value Payroll donors because it is a regular flow of money which allows us to plan our activities long-term.”