I remember when the community programme started in 2012, as I was just recovering from breast cancer and had just started back to work. I was planning a charity event for The Breast Cancer Unit Support Trust (BUST) at the time as I wanted to give something back for the fantastic support and treatment I had received following my breast cancer diagnosis.
The community champion at that time was very supportive and offered to come along to the event and help, as well as donate a raffle gift from the store. I was very thankful for the support I had received and I thought what a fantastic role Asda had created to help support the community. So when the job vacancy for community champion came along in April 2016 I applied for it. As I had been a committee member of The BUST charity for four years and was holding fundraising events and helping at support groups, I thought this would be a great job for me to help Asda support the local community.
I remember one of the first groups that I helped after becoming community champion was The Job and IT Club. It was was run by Community Ignite which has since changed name to Southern Brookes, and I still keep in touch with them. I also used to help out at the Milestones Trust, which is a charity organisation caring for people with disabilities, and would go along twice a month and do some art and craft activities with the group. They are still running and the group has received funding from the Asda Foundation to help support them in the pandemic. I also used to help at The Summerhill Methodist elderly lunch club preparing and serving meals. Since the pandemic has hit the church has not held the lunch club, but i still keep in touch with some of the ladies that ran the group and meet with them once a month for a cup of tea and catch up.
My favourite memories are of the Tickled Pink charity events we have held in the store with all our colleagues and also the Bristol Community Team Tickled Pink store Tours.
I also really enjoyed the NHS raise a cuppa event to mark the NHS's 70th anniversary, BBC Children in Need, as well as many, many community events that I have supported over the years.
I believe that being an Asda community champion has made a big difference in our local community, as there is always a group that needs our help and support through volunteering roles, Green Token Giving and Asda Foundation grants. So many organisations have benefitted in so many ways – and many of the good causes are so grateful for our volunteering roles.
All the groups I work with are always very thankful to Asda for allowing me to help. Service users, children and elderly groups enjoy seeing a friendly face and think our activities we provide – like arts and crafts, school toolkits, healthy eating and helping with baking – are great.
I have made great relationships and friends with all my groups and service users that I support in our community and I am always looking out for new groups to help.
My colleagues are all very supportive and my store managers at Longwell Green have always been very supportive, especially Tina Lawrence, my line manager, who always gets involved with the charity events. We always work as a team instore with colleague Christmas parties, buffets and celebration lunches.
The Bristol community champions are all great friends and we regularly work together with outreach sessions and Tickled Pink events. I keep in touch with them all the time and we always help each other out when we need any support or advice.
I love my job as Asda community champion and I enjoy helping all my local good causes. I have had some fantastic times instore and in the community, and I hope the community programme will help many more groups and charities in the future. It's always so nice to see friendly faces of the members of my local groups and school children shopping instore and always asking when i will be visiting them again soon.