Why community champion Jo from our Pwllheli store loves to make a difference
"We all need kindness and help and that’s what my community champion role at Asda Pwllheli let's me do. I love making a difference." These are the words of our much-loved colleague Jo Scott who is helping to celebrate ten years of our new community programme.
Jo, who was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours for her tireless work supporting the local community, loves helping charities, groups, schools and good causes in her local area.
She said: "I'm so passionate about helping others in both my work time and in my free time. I’m now known as Jo Asda who will try her best to help. I've developed a network of groups and good causes that can link together and help each other. For me that's lovely and what a community is all about."
Jo, who's worked at the store in North Wales since it opened 15 years ago, said she was chosen as community champion by her admin section leader Lisa Leech who now lives in Australia.
She said: "She just came up to me and said 'Jojo you’ll be perfect for this' and gave me a piece of paper and 'hey presto' that was that! I'm so glad that she had so much faith in me as I didn’t have a clue what I was doing in the beginning, probably still don’t truth be known! I learn every day and I have so much fun with my community and I love finding ways to help them. I really owe so much to Lisa. It really has been a joy to work as a community champion from the very start.
"The first groups I helped were local schools who helped me so much with my Welsh lessons! We were the first business to help our local food bank and I became good friends with two lovely ladies, Ursula and Daphne, who were determined that no-one in our community should go hungry. I agreed with them and we’ve had a food bank trolley in store since 2012. I've helped with grants, donations of goods and volunteering. The food bank has changed over the years and they have retired, but the relationship with the new group is still the same.
Jo, was recently attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition for her community work, said: "Looking back over the years I really can’t believe everything that’s happened to this little old nainy, so many awards, acknowledgements, thank yous and support, a British Citizen Award and now a British Empire Medal all because I’ve been me and doing a job I absolutely love in a community that I genuinely love and care for and want to help.
"I've so many memories. It’s the people and the kindness that makes them. It’s helping people achieve a goal and helping people in crisis.
"Before Covid I was in the local newspaper every week helping with events and pictured presenting cheques to good causes. I wasn’t in the newspaper one week and a customer came up to me and said 'thank goodness you’re okay as you weren’t in the newspaper this week'. That made me laugh!"
Jo, who's an avid supporter of our Tickled Pink breast cancer awareness campaign and BBC Children in Need, said the support she's received from managers and colleagues has been fantastic.
She said: "I've been really lucky as they do help and join in. As time is precious I make sure I plan and schedule everything to fit in with their work plans then it makes it easier for managers to join in and come out on events. Having fun in store makes for happy colleagues and it’s nice for our customers to see."
She said the response from local groups about the support they receive from herself, the store and the Asda Foundation through grants, donations and the Green Token Giving scheme has been heartwarming.
"I know they are extremely grateful. For me I really hope that I've made a difference. For me it isn’t just a job. It shows that by helping and giving to our community we are a supermarket that cares."