More than 60 local groups and charities across the UK are to receive a share of £750,000 from Asda's charity, the Asda Foundation, so they can breathe new life into community spaces and places to meet, bring communities together and combat isolation.
The Spaces and Places grants range from £5,000 to £25,000 and have been set up after customers said the cost-of-living crisis had impacted their social and community interaction.
The grants falls under three categories – transforming an outdoor space, renovating a place or repairing a space, with projects ranging from fixing broken windows to enhancing the facilities and outdoor space.
One group to benefit is Headspace Bolton CIC, who offer a safe space and creative outlet for people with experience of mental illness to come together. The centre offers a wide range of of creative activities and workshops, including stand-up comedy, photography and film making.
They have been awarded £23,200 from Asda Foundation to carry out work on their building which will include access ramps, upgraded bathroom and kitchen facilities, new staging, lighting, flooring and ceilings, and increased security and shutters.
Ginny Allende, co-founder of the charity, said: "Wow, we’re so happy and grateful to receive a grant from the Asda Foundation, we can’t quite believe it! This grant will enable us to renovate and transform our space to create a warmer, safer environment and gives us the opportunity to make it our home."
Morley Cricket Club, above, were bowled over to receive a £25,000 Asda Foundation grant.
The club, based in Scatcherd Lane, is going to spend the money on renovating one of its buildings.
Donna Thomson, the store's community champion who helped the club with the grant application, said: "It's safe to say Morley Cricket Club is so grateful to have been selected and myself and the team at Asda Morley are thrilled to help.
"The massive £25,000 grant towards the renovation means the work can now get on its way! The grounds are used by a number of sports groups and this building, once renovated, will be a massive difference. I'm looking forward to seeing the end result."
Pan Together, on the Isle of Wight, will use a £5,000 grant to improve the quality of a building that the group operates from, providing a warmer and safer feeling environment for service users.
Rachel Thomson, Pan Together manager, said: “We’re thrilled to receive a grant from Asda Foundation. Funding will make such a huge difference, helping us to replace rotting windows and doors which have become dilapidated and are in a state of disrepair.
"This will make the rooms warmer and more welcoming for volunteers, members, centre users, visitors and staff as well as lifting spirits and reducing our heating bills which will help us become more sustainable in the long term to enable us to continue our vital services for people in the local community. Thank you, Asda Foundation!”
Clare Jones, community champion at our Isle of Wight store, said: “The impact this grant will have on the community that Pan Together helps is immense. The centre is a lifeline for so many local people, not only as a meeting place but for essential needs and signposting. I'm so pleased to have been a small cog in the process of getting the building repaired with new windows and enabling Pan Together to continue their fantastic support in our community.”
The Gateway Collective in Bootle runs a community garden space, growing veggies which are shared with the community or cooked to give meals and will use £14,750 to build a kitchen and outdoor classroom within the garden space.
Abi Horton, community lead at the group, said: "We are overjoyed to be receiving this money from the Asda Foundation and we can't thank them enough. We have no electricity or running water at the moment, so building a kitchen on the site will be brilliant. We really can't wait for the project to start.
"Cooking and eating together is an integral part of our sessions helping to create community togetherness and combatting food poverty, however without a kitchen we rely on camping stoves and cook outside. This grant will fund a fully fitted kitchen which is ready to use. A new kitchen has so many benefits including helping us to increase our reach, opening a cafe and enabling us to use the space during the cold winter months. It will help us open our range of cooking options that are not possible on a camping stove and create new recipes from the food we grow.
"The new facility will help us to address the rising cost of living by reducing food poverty in our community, giving local people the tools to grow and cook for themselves."
Colette Johnson, community champion at our Bootle store, said: “I have been going to North Park Community Garden since 2016 and I have watched it grow and develop over the years. As the garden has expanded, new people have joined and benefitted from it.
"North Park Community Garden is more than a garden, it is a place for people to meet other people, to socialise and to work together. The food they grow and cook is an important part of the process, as is eating together. The kitchen will bring another element to the garden community as they are limited due to the lack of facilities and the kitchen will become a community hub were everyone is welcome and has a place to belong.”
And our Toryglen store's community champion Elizabeth Arbuckle (pictured above) surprised Burnhill Action Group with a £7,000 donation on behalf of the Asda Foundation that will allow the group to create a community shelter in their gardens, allowing children and young people a place to come together throughout the year, where they can take part in educational workshops about sustainable growing, as well as arts and crafts sessions
Our Newark store's community champion Sinead Hinch, above, presented the wonderful team at Coddington Village Hall with an Asda Foundation grant of £7,500 to help refurbish the building.
The donation means the hall committee will be replacing second-hand donated kitchen units with new units, worktops and plinths, along with replacing the fridge and cooker.
Isobel Turner, one of trustees of the village hall, said: "Being given the Asda Foundation grant has really cheered up all the trustees and friends of the hall.
"For some time, we have been looking out for a grant that we are eligible for; so many have been aimed towards Covid and well-being, rather than doing physical improvements such as ours. Although well equipped, our assorted kitchen units are well overdue for updating and will give a modern, co-ordinated appearance to the hall."
The hall is well used week-in-week-out by a variety of groups – Brownies, the WI, a history group, an art class and bee keeping courses to name a few.
Sinead said: "It's exciting to have the opportunity to make an impact on the local area. I am looking forward to following the progress of the refurbishment and getting involved where possible. I'm excited to see the updated kitchen when it has been finished."
And store manager Karl Carthew added: "It is the first time I have been involved with an Asda Foundation grant of this amount and I am excited to see the final result. It is very rewarding to help the local community and help transform the space in the village hall."
The volunteers at Pendle Armed Forces Support Group were delighted to receive an Asda Foundation grant of £7,000, above, to help extend their premises and expand their good work in the community.
Mike Sullivan, the group's chairman, said he couldn't thank Asda enough, especially community champion Diane Springthorpe.
The team at Bracken Bank and District Community Association were delighted to receive an Asda Foundation grant of £9,000, pictured above.
Our Keighley store's community champion Suzie Ramsbottom, who handed over the cheque with store manager Mark, said: "The association are replacing their flooring at the Sue Belcher Community Centre where they are based as the final part to their improvements to become an access for all site. I can’t wait to see it."
Community champion Jo Scott from our Pwllheli store surprised the team at CPD Pwllheli FC Cyfyngedig with a donation of £15,000, above.
The funding will help fund a new community hub for the town that will be accessible for people of all ages. It will create a safe place for young people to join in with activities, to reduce isolation with the elderly, and to help families with essential skills.
Jo said: “I was so delighted to tell my group that they had been successful with their grant application – I just burst out in tears on the phone."
The Spaces & Places programme follows work undertaken by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
Asda funded a Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship looking at the impact of supermarkets on challenges faced by communities and early research suggests that the cost of meeting spaces was a key barrier to communities coming together, and that ‘trusted, neutral and accessible’ space for local groups to meet and interact has a positive impact on communities.
Further research from Asda shows that one in four people feel that the cost of living has impacted connections to their local community and is already limiting social their social and leisure activities. The research shows that families are scaling back their plans to reduce costs and are, spending more time at home with families and spending less time within their communities.
Asda’s research also shows that access to mental health support in communities is vital in order to ease loneliness and isolation
Alexandra Preston, Senior Manager at the Asda Foundation, said: “We know our communities are having a tough time right now with the rising cost of living, which is further increasing inequalities and the isolation experienced during the pandemic.
"Small grass roots organisations play a vital role in making positive change and improving people’s lives every day. They understand the needs in their community and are constantly adapting to meet those needs.
“Community groups and our wider research is clearly telling us telling us that having safe, inclusive spaces to meet, learn, celebrate and come together builds connection and resilience in their community. The challenge for many of these groups is having the affordable space to bring people together to deliver this fantastic work - that’s why we’re investing £750k in breathing new life into community spaces across the UK”
Asda have also purpose-built community rooms in eight stores around the UK and plan to create three more by the end of the year, using excess store space.
The community rooms are made available to local charities and community groups that need a reliable space to host talks, meetings and other kinds of activities.
Here's a full list of the charities and local groups who are to benefit from the funding:
Renovating a Place
Ark Church Nottingham £15,000 - Hyson Green
Armed Forces Support Group £5,000 - Colne
Bailliefields Community Hub SCIO £7,500 - Falkirk
Bangor Foodbank and Community Support £20,250 - Bangor
Bideford & District Sea Cadets £5,000 Bideford
Biggleswade Arts Collective CIC £25,000 - Biggleswade
Bothwell Futures £22,500 - Blantyre
Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps £6,250 - Castlepoint
Charles Young Centre £8,000 - South Shields
Coddington Village Hall £7,500 - Newark
CPD Pwllheli FC Cyfyngedig £15,000 - Pwllheli
Creative Care Scotland £7,000 - Bishopbriggs
Dream Time Creative CIC £20,000 - Wakefield
Elder Voice £20,000 - Perth
Engage In The Community £10,000 - Blyth
Fittie Community Development Trust £5,000 – Aberdeen Beach
Friends of Morecambe Bay £7,000 - Lancaster
Grenoside Scout & Guide Group £10,000 - Chaucer Road
Headspace Bolton C.I.C £23,200 – Burnden Park
Helenslea Community Hall SCIO £5,900 - Parkhead
Manchester Vineyard £25,000 - Hyde
Newton Abbot Centre Association £22,650 - Newton Abbot
One Dalkeith £7,500 - Straiton
Re. Future Collective £10,000 – Cape Hill
Seagoe Youth Group £5,000 - Portadown
Shirley Community Association £5,000 - Shirley
St Stephen's Church, Chatham £5,000 - Chatham
The Future Group for St Mary's Church Bitton £12,500 - Longwell Green
The Gate Charity £10,000 - Alloa
The Net Youth Project - Comber Youth For Christ £10,000 - Newtownards
The Parochial Church of Great Baddow, Meadgate £25,000 - Chelmsford
The Streetly Association £10,000 - Queslett
Youth & Community Connexions £24,650 - Edmonton Green
Repairing a Space
1st Golborne (St Thomas) Scout Group Executive Committee £14,000 - Golborne
1st Wormley Scout Group £25,000 - Ware
Abbeydore Church £12,500 - Hereford
Boldon Community Association £9,800 - Boldon
Bracken Bank & District Community Association £9,000 - Keighley
Community Centre for Refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia £7,500 - Isle of Dogs
Farri Park CIC £5,000 - Fulwood
Gordan Rural Action £13,500 - Huntly
Medbourne Village Hall £10,000 - Corby
Morley Cricket & Sports Club £25,000 - Morley
Pan Together £5,000 – Newport IOW
St Aidens Southcoates Parochial Church Council £7,000 – Mount Pleasant
Walk Tall £9,000 - Greenhithe
Workington Unit of the Sea Cadet Corps £14,750 – Workington
Transforming an Outdoor Space
Burnhill Action Group £7,000 - Toryglen
Burnside Centre £12,000 - Pilsworth
Cancer Connect NI £5,000 - Enniskillen
Friends of Spondon Parks £8,500 - Derby
Knockbreda Community Garden £7,400 - Dundonald
SEN Space Care and Respite Services CIC £25,000 - Belfast Westwood
St Austell Baptist Church Family Centre £6,500 - St Austell
St Margaret The Queen PCC £20,000 - Wallington
Swimbridge Parklands £13,500 - Barnstaple
The Gateway Collective CIC £14,750 - Bootle
Trimsaran Forum £25,000 – Llanelli Murray Street
Widmer End Village Hall & Recreation Ground Committee £5,000 - High Wycombe
Wildside Activity Centre £12,200 - Wolverhampton