"My community job isn’t just a job, it’s grown into my personality. I love going home to tell my husband and two children everything I’ve done in my day, who I’ve helped and who I’ve donated to. It teaches my children values and what kind of person we should all aspire to be." These are the words of community champion Sarah Cranswick from our Mount Pleasant store in Hull who is helping to celebrate our community programme's 10th anniversary.
Sarah, who's worked at the store for 10 years, is so passionate about her role and the positive impact it's had over the past decade on local charities, groups, schools and good causes.
She said: "Colleagues always say to me, 'I bet you get a lot of job satisfaction in your role' and that is 100% true. I absolutely love helping the local community. I’ve heard of people's struggles in some of our charities and good causes and it’s truly heart-breaking sometimes, but at least I know I always try my best to help them in any way possible, even if that’s just an ear on the end of the phone.
"I think some of the charities are surprised sometimes by our help. They think large supermarkets don’t have the time to help these tiny small charities and they are shocked when they hear that there is a dedicated person at each store there ready to help. We are lucky enough to have a community room and it’s amazing to see their faces when I bring them in to see the room and they say ‘oh my gosh, I didn’t know something like this would even exist in such a big supermarket.‘"
Sarah said she was on holiday when the position of community champion came up and was put on the vacancies board in store.
She said: "The store manager at the time, Chris Coventry, and the checkouts manager, Kerry Macklin, asked me to come up to the office. I sat down and they asked me if I’d seen the role advertised since a lot of my colleagues had said I’d be perfect for the job. They spoke more about it in detail and I though ‘are you joking, is this a real job? because it sounds amazing!‘ I quickly accepted it!
"It was a big learning experience, but thankfully community colleague Geoff Brown from our Kingswood store trained me. I first started doing a lot of things for Tickled Pink, our beast cancer charity campaign. I then started to approach more groups and charities. I remember making an official letter introducing myself and what I did at Asda and sending it to so many local charities and community groups. I got such lovely responses."
She's since worked and helped many local groups and schools, including Craven Primary School.
"It’s so nice knowing that I actually attended that school and then Asda was built of top of it so I’ve gone full circle, staying the exact same spot!"
One of Sarah's most memorable times as community champion was getting more than 30 colleagues to walk across the Humber Bridge to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
She said: "It was absolutely pouring down with rain. It was such a miserable day, but everyone turned up ready to support and we had had such a good time, there was a great sense of togetherness.
"I was also proud of the article I got in the newspapers when colleagues (including me) were pregnant at the same time and we blamed it on the magical checkout chair! That was such a laugh!"
Sarah said she couldn't do her job without the support of her managers, colleagues and customers!
"Lots of colleagues in my store are very supportive and get involved but I would like to especially thank Sam Callaghan, a colleague on our optical department. She is always first to help me no matter what. She’s got involved with multiple community events and supports me in everything I do (even the boring jobs like folding raffle tickets). If I can’t be somewhere or see someone she will be there. I call her my lovely assistant because she truly is.
"Another supportive colleague is Tina Neilson. She volunteers at the local homeless shelter and she’s always on hand if I need anything. She has lots of connections as well so always helps me help the people who need it the most. My store manager Martin Macdavid is so supportive too. In this role it’s vital to have a brilliant store manager behind you."