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Lucie's so happy to be a friendly face helping bring the local community together

Asda's community programme is celebrating its 10th anniversary – and Lucie Brown from our Blackwood store has been passionate about making a difference to her local area since day one.

By News & Blogs Team

May 17, 2022 08:05am
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Asda Blackwood community champion Lucie Brown

Lucie, who was one of our first community champions back in 2012, has been offering her support to local good causes, securing grants from the Asda Foundation, providing her time and help for initiatives ranging from a lunch club for lonely and vulnerable people to cooking lessons for parents and children. She also started a 'free cuppa 'n' chat' session in the store every Friday to help tackle loneliness.

Lucie said: "Being a community colleague for the last 10 years has been a privilege and a joy. I have enjoyed various elements of the job from joining the community together in celebration to helping those in need."

Lucie, who's pictured here delivering an Asda Foundation grant for £500 to Llancaeach Primary School for their Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, remembers the start of the community programme with fondness.

Asda Blackwood community champion Lucie Brown

She said: "I was an events coordinator before the role of community programme first began. I remember being very excited about supporting the local community when the new role was created. Being able to invite local charities and good causes into the store for the first time felt exciting and I was proud to announce all the new programmes of support that the Asda Foundation was putting in place.

"The very first group I supported was the Libanus luncheon club, a not-for-profit group that to this day I support weekly. When I first stared I was an extra pair of hands in the club, but now I play a more substantial role in the group.

"During my time supporting this group I not only help in person, undertaking duties that help the running of the club, but have also secured funding for Christmas meals and other celebrations. This group is vital to the community as it supports the elderly and vulnerable individuals and helps combat loneliness by forging bonds of friendship.

"I am very excited for this group to be back up and running following the necessary restrictions of the pandemic as now more than ever these individuals need to see some friendly faces."

Asda Blackwood community champion Lucie Brown

Lucie says she has many proud achievements from the last 10 years, with highlights including:

  • Supporting the youngest of our young citizens by delivering lessons and donating books and helping transform an old classroom into a fun and exciting library where learners are now engaged.
  • Working with Pantside Primary School to establish and run a food bank for the students.
  • Setting up workshops with Llamau to establish support in the community for victims of domestic abuse.
  • Helping to start and run a luncheon club in Markham community centre that provides meals and social activities for the elderly and vulnerable.
  • Establishing a food bank and a uniform bank in Cefn Fforest Primary School
  • Delivering cooking lessons to single parents in Cefn Fforset Primary School. A few weeks ago a single father and his two girls cooked together for the first time. The programme has helped establish healthy eating habits while families spend time together.
  • Starting the 'free cuppa n chat' session which I run on a Friday morning in our store. We open up our training room doors to anyone wishing to pop in for a drink, snack and friendly conversation. The aim of this is to build relationships and tackle loneliness.

Lucie said: "I feel more than just providing funding I have helped establish strong relationships within the community. I am well known to many children in our community who always stop to chat if they see me.

"I have helped start and run a luncheon club in Markham community centre that provides meals and social activities for the elderly and vulnerable, and have seen many great friendships blossom over the years.

"The groups that I support are always grateful of the generosity of Asda. My Markham group in particular replies on me weekly to help provide the services the area desperately needs."

Lucie says the relationships she's formed in the local community and the help she can provide has evolved over the past 10 years.

She said: "When I first started on my journey of community champion I was supporting many established groups with an extra pair of hands or funding. Over the last 10 years I have developed strong relationships within the community and have helped already-established groups in a way that they can support more individuals, as well as establishing many of my own new support initiatives that run weekly."

Asda Blackwood community champion Lucie Brown

Lucie says she appreciates the support of her colleagues, who always get behind her in-store fundraising activities – like BBC Children in Need, above.

She said: "This job relies heavily on the support of your store manager. I have been very lucky over the past 10 years to have had managers that feel passionate about the community role. They not only allow me to run initiatives but also on many occasions have joined in and help support the causes by allowing us to fundraise in store. Colleagues are always happy help in any way they can, this varies from dressing up, selling raffle tickets and competing in friendly competitions. We have many talented bakers!"

Lucie is planning to celebrate the 10-year milestone by inviting the people and groups she's supported over the years to come into store for a slice of cake.

"We will share stories as well as network and find new ways to develop as a community," she said.

"My aim is to achieve the Investing in Spaces and Places grant to improve community spaces and places where local people can be together and thrive. I would also like to establish more initiatives that tackle loneliness as this is an issue for many, especially since the pandemic. The free 'cuppa 'n' chat' mornings are thriving and I am currently looking into providing free well-being and crafting courses to the members of the community.

"I believe the community role is the best role in Asda, so I feel very privileged that I have been able to make a difference in the community and hope that this continues to develop."

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