I’ve worked for Asda since 2010 and began my journey as a community champion in March 2012. The pandemic has brought many challenges, both globally and locally, and I am so proud to have been able to support my local community through such a difficult period. In 2019 alone, I raised £39,263.40!
Since 2012, I have worked with over 40 groups, building relationships with each and every one of them along the way. Some of these groups include my local dementia group, Antrim Retirement Group and Rathenraw Youth Scheme, to name but a few. I also like to organise themed tombolas and bake sales to help raise funds for these local charities and organisations.
It’s great to be able to support our local food bank by supplying food and other essential items to them, donating Easter eggs for raffle prizes to community groups and giving gardening tools to the local community gardeners.
Stuart, an Asda Antrim colleague, was going through cancer treatment recently and wanted to give something back to the hospital that was helping him. His colleagues completed the Belfast Marathon as a team, held bag packs, table quizzes and many smaller fundraising activities to raise money for this cause. This helped us raise a fantastic £10,207.00 and I am so proud to have been able to support my friend and colleague in this way.
One of my most memorable moments as a community champion would be my first encounter with Betty Campbell, who was the main organiser of The Ladies Lunch for the Antrim Retirement Group. Since I didn’t know the Antrim area that well, I had to search for community groups I could help and I came across the Antrim Retirement Group. Betty organised a community day for all the local women and it was called ‘The Ladies Lunch’. This would always be a big success and many women from all over the area would attend. Sadly, Betty passed away last June, and with the 30th anniversary of The Ladies Lunch coming up, I felt it was only right to organise one in her memory. We invited her close family and friends and all the women who would usually attend. It was a fantastic day and we had around 120 people there, as well as entertainment from The Victory Rollers and a local dance team called Ballroom Blitz.
Each event I take part in, I do so with pride. Each organisation I work with means so much to me, so I am delighted to help them in any way I can.
Whilst all of my achievements through this role stand out for me in their own way, my proudest moment would be the Strictly Come Dancing event we organised for Riverside Special School. Over the course of eight weeks, we taught families, friends and colleagues a number of dance routines that would then be performed on the final night. It was so lovely to see everyone come together for the cause and we raised a total of £10,890.58 to help transform the outside play area of the school.
The most recent Asda Foundation project I have supported saw the donation of £12,890 to The Family Caring Centre so they could refurbish their accommodation. Our grant allowed them to purchase paint, new flooring, window blinds and fencing for the outside area. It was great to see the money be put to good use.
My volunteering means so much to the groups I support. Many of the organisations I support rely on volunteers and I’m so grateful to be in a position to offer them that help. For me, volunteering around the community is very rewarding. I love to see people’s happy faces when they see me arriving at their groups, especially as I have created a special bond with them all. It is very satisfying to see the impact my support can have around our community. This is why I love my job.