Community champions Tracey and Mavis mark 10 years of teaming up to support good causes
Good friends Tracey Tough and Mavis Maughan have been working as community champions at our Boldon and South Shields stores ever since our community programme started 10 years ago – and they say they've loved every minute in their roles.
They work closely together on numerous projects and fundraisers in the area around their two stores and are proud of the help they've offered to local charities, schools and groups over the past decade.
Tracey, who's worked at our Boldon store for over 33 years, said: "The community programme has made a massive difference to a lot of groups over the years. It's not just about giving money and donations, it's about giving time, going along to help and being a face for Asda. We are letting groups know that Asda is willing to help.
She said: "I'm so proud of what I do. The community role has made me a better person and in tune with my local community and the needs of the area. I wanted a change and to make a difference; I now look back and I know I have achieved that even if it is at a small level.
"I work with and support lots of groups and to some of them we are a lifeline. The help we have given them helps them to carry on. I support a school by giving them cooking ingredients for children whose families cannot afford to buy them. Because of that those kids get to cook like everyone else. I know it's only a little thing, but to them kids it's huge.
"The groups we help and there are many know Asda is there to support them."
Tracey says she loves working alongside Mavis, especially on providing – with the help of Asda Foundation funding – a Christmas party for elderly residents at the Charles Young Centre.
She said: "We've been doing it for at least eight years now. When we started there was only a few people attending, but now it's an annual event for about 130 people who otherwise would be left alone with no celebration. We provide a three-course Christmas dinner, entertainment and a visit from Santa too. Some of the elderly residents look forward to this event all year. I'm so proud of its success and the difference this makes. It's become quite an event with local police cadets and volunteers getting involved too."
Tracey is proud of her relationship with an independent and self-sufficient group called Green Hope Oasis, which runs allotments and helps young people and those with social problems.
She said: "It feeds children and supporting families in the holidays It has built a classroom, a play area and workshops. It's the heart of the community and has become a beacon for a lot of people. Last year it won the Queen's Award and The Countess of Wessex came along to present it and to have a look at what the group do and the difference they make. To see something grow and know we have been part of the success story makes me so proud."
She's equally as proud of her help and commitment to the local food banks including, Hospitality and Hope. She said: "I've worked with them from the very beginning; they were just a little group working out of one tiny room. Now I work with a least five food banks in the area. To me that is one of the biggest changes, seeing how many people now need that sort of help."
Tracey says the success of the community programme is down to the support of her colleagues and managers. She said: "I am really lucky. Boldon is a big store, but we were a pit village and it still has that community family spirit today. We are proud of our roots. I believe in what I do and the difference we make."
Mavis has been at our South Shields store for more than 20 years and loves her role helping the community.
She said: "Over the years I have many memories working with all different kinds of people. I've met royalty, celebrities, mayors and special people who run and help charities in all kinds of ways. But the one thing that sticks with me is when the community colleagues in my region got together and made a record for our breast cancer campaign. We were invited down to Asda House in Leeds to sing it on stage – we were the warm up band for McFly before they were famous!"
Mavis says that over the years she has seen a lot more charities needing the support of Asda and the Asda Foundation.
She said: "The groups that I work with really appreciate the help that we give and the support that I give just by going along to lend a hand.
"I have worked with all different groups and built up a fantastic relationship and made good friends. I will still be a friend when I retire from Asda but as long as I can do the job I will be here meeting my community.
"The support I get from all my colleagues and managers is great and my hope is that we can go keep going forward to support charities and good causes and many more people out there that need help in all different ways."