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Why Grace is so passionate about supporting the community around our Leyton Mills store

Our Leyton Mills store’s community champion Grace Wypych is passionate about supporting local charities, groups and good causes. She is one of the 380 Asda community champions who are on hand to support local charities, groups and good causes. Here she blogs about her role…

By Grace Wypych

September 1, 2020 03:00pm
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Asda Leyton Mills community champion Grace Wypych

I’ve worked for Asda since 2014, starting in the cash office before becoming community champion in January this year. It’s been a hugely challenging year for so many people, and I’m proud to be able to play a role on behalf of the store to help our local community at a time that support is more important than ever.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been involved with around 15 different organisations.

I have volunteered in our local food bank, Eat or Heat, completed donations for schools, mental health support groups, food distribution centres, and do a weekly order – like a manual home shopping form – for our local Baby Bank.

Volunteering with our local food bank is crucial for the centre to exist. As they have limited time to operate in the church where they make their weekly donations it is crucial to have extra hands to make sure everyone in need can be served before they have to close up.

I support the NHS Breast Screening Van in our car park, organise fundraising for events like Valentines Day or Mother’s Day, offering a gift wrapping service for those who are in a rush to buy a present for a donation to our Tickled Pink charity. I also support the Royal British Legion’s pensioners’ club, volunteering at their Christmas parties.

In the past I’ve organised the sale of charity merchandise, along with cake and sweet stands combined with a charity fundraising tombola.

I recently got in touch with a charity which helps people get back in society by providing them with upskilling workshops of pen making, collecting for them plastic bottles top in store. For now this is only in the colleague area, but depending on the situation with Covid I’m thinking about putting a collection box in the store.

I’ve also booked in local Scouts groups for a fundraiser and applied for grants from Asda Foundation for homeless help centres and local schools. So you can see from all this that it’s a varied and busy role!

In 2019 our store raised £4,234 for our Tickled Pink breast cancer charity campaign and BBC Children in Need, so I’d like to say thank you to everyone for their generous support.

My proudest moment when I had a five-year-old boy whispering to my ear that he is so happy to see Pudsey, as he told his little sister he was real and he feels like now he is ready to be a big brother. It really melted my heart!

Another memorable moment was when I dropped off a donation of arts and board games to Ellingham support centre for people with learning disabilities and saw the smiley faces and the happiness and joy of everyone there. Every time I can make someone smile seeing the good being spread around makes me feel proud to be Asda.

I took part in a Virtual Sparkle Walk for the Haven’s House Children’s Hospice, donated necessities for St Joseph’s Hospice on behalf of the store and volunteering at their jumble sale. Supporting our healthcare professionals is important to me. On behalf of the store I donated decorations for the Covid room in Whitechapel ward of the Royal London Hospital, along with SIM cards for their #stayconnected project.

Our work has continued throughout these trying few months. Recently I've been applying for a grant for The Manna project, who remained open for homeless people offering them a shower and place to wash clothes, as well as donating some essential supplies to them.

During the summer I applied for a Healthy Holidays grant for Teen Action, who support children with food and crafts during the summer holidays.

As I am still new to this role I am sure I will stay in touch with the groups in the future, and hopefully restrictions will be lifted and I will be able to volunteer more out in our community!

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