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It's more than Debbie's distinctive pink hair that makes her a striking local presence

Debbie Kenney from our Fosse Park store in Leicester store dyed her hair pink as one of her first fundraising challenges when our community programme started in 2012 – and ten years on her brightly coloured hair makes her an instantly-recognisable presence in the local area.

May 26, 2022 10:37am
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She works closely with lots of local schools, groups, charities and good causes, as well as raising money and awareness for our Tickled Pink breast cancer charity, the Poppy Appeal and BBC Children in Need.

It was Debbie's first activity for Tickled Pink which led to her distinctive hair colour.

She said: "I was already doing the events in store and then when this role came up, I was asked by my GSM, Tony Brennan to take on the role – and it was right up my street! We hadn't done any fundraising in store for a while and I said that if I was to take it on then we would need to do something big to launch it. I asked if I could dye my hair pink, got the go-ahead, went for it, and I have been pink ever since!

"Ten years in this role has certainly made me a better person, and being able to help in lots of different ways has made me more determined to help others. I've built up trust with the people in the community, as they know I am ready to support them.

Tickled Pink fun | Asda Leicester
Tickled Pink fun | Asda Leicester

"I am known throughout as "The lady at Asda with the pink hair" which shows that I have a strong identity!"

Debbie's proud to have helped a wide range of local groups and good causes, and is delighted to see how much it means to them when she provides support on behalf of her store, or via the Asda Foundation.

She said: "I love my job and love getting to know new people and seeing where we can help, helping support all sorts of events, projects and groups gives me a great sense of pride.

"I have worked with some groups since the beginning, like the litter picking group, Friends of Highway Spinney, who meet every other Monday.

"Having a budget and grants to support my community is an amazing thing as I am sure some of the people we have helped would not have been able to do the things they want without the funding from Asda."

Debbie says one of her biggest highlights was meeting Prince Edward when he came to open a project she supported called Soft Arts.

She said: "Soft Arts had been given a new building and it needed a lot of renovations, so Asda supported this with £15,000 for a new kitchen. I helped with the painting along with other things. This project has gone from strength to strength over the years and I am really proud of what it has done with cooking projects and a cafe that supplies the offices around it.

"I think I have helped to push peoples ambitions by helping others to do better for their future, supporting young adults with the Prince's Trust, Helping others with their fundraising to help other projects in the community and giving time to understand what it is they need to achieve their goals."

Another Royal memory for Debbie was when she won tickets to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.

"I had set up a tea shop in a trolley bay outside for our customers and decorated it red, white and blue and this won me my tickets," she said. "It was an amazing event. Winning Regional Community Champion of the year in 2013 was also an amazing achievement. My award sits proudly at home."

Debbie's great support for Tickled Pink includes undertaking a skydive alongside store manager Gary Brown, raising £3,000.

She says she loves building and developing relationships with local groups.

"I think Asda and I make a huge difference in the community, from supporting food banks to donating a raffle prize for a group," she said.

Debbie Kenney and Andy Murray from Asda with Lindsay Boswell and Sadiq Ahmed from FareShare
Debbie Kenney and Andy Murray from Asda with Lindsay Boswell and Sadiq Ahmed from FareShare

"People know that if I can support in any way I will. I have a great relationship with my community and the people that are out there. Giving support or funding supports the community to grow and develop further and makes it stronger and people come to me to help with this.

"I feel Asda are a huge benefit in this and people are aware that they can rely on me to be there for them, from litter picking to washing up to painting a kitchen I am there to help."

Debbie says the support of her colleagues and managers means so much to her.

She said: "I have been very lucky to have had store managers who have supported everything I do. They know that I give my all to the role; they don't need to ask if jobs have been done as they know I will have done it. Colleagues in the store get behind the things that I do, even though some of them think I just drink tea all day!

"I think the community role is the best thing Asda have done. We don't have to advertise on TV – our role is all done through word of mouth, and if you are doing your job right people will come to you. Looking forward I would hope that community grows and we can carry on supporting our community and giving more time to help where we are needed. I will still be here to continue the work that I do to make Leicester a better place, as I'm always Happy to Help."

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