Our wonderful team of community champions have been working closely with local good causes throughout the year – and this month they're busy spreading Christmas cheer by offering more support and securing grants for many local groups.
Joan Martin, from our Sheffield Chaucer Road store, has worked closely with ArtWorks – a creative organisation for adults with learning disabilities – all year. First she helped them with an Asda Foundation Cost of Living grant for £996 to help cover their increased rent costs. This has enabled to group to continue to provide creative workshops and placements, as well as ensuring that other groups that use the space, such as Rainbows, Brownies, and yoga classes, can continue at no additional cost.
And with Christmas coming she arranged a magical breakfast with Santa for ArtWorks members. They'd had to stop their popular breakfast club this year due to a lack of funding and the financial impact of the pandemic, so Joan gave them an extra surprise by presenting them with a £12,000 grant from Asda to fund it for the next year.
Joan said: "The artists were picked up by coach – with Father Christmas onboard – from all three sites that ArtWorks run and brought to Thorpe Hesley Community Centre.
"When they arrived there was a choir, a snow machine and they were all given a Christmas jumper to keep. They then had a breakfast of pancakes and fruit and sausage sandwiches all cooked by a chef.
"We had a magician walking round showing tricks, someone making balloon models and a game of bingo and when they all left they were given a Christmas goody bag too. They all had a brilliant time and it was great seeing the smiles on their faces.
"And we have gone away knowing we have funded a breakfast club for all of 2023 for 52 weeks of the year for members to enjoy. So it's not just for one day, it's for a complete year."
Kayleigh Cruickshank, who is one of directors at the Art Works Gallery, said: "It was such a fantastic day for all of our artists – they all had such an amazing time and they were so happy and grateful to have that experience.
"Some of our artists don't get to celebrate Christmas in the way that we might so they were absolutely made up to get a present and get all that fuss made over them. It's something that they will not forgot.
"We used to run the breakfast club before the pandemic which was really successful but we'd never been able to restart it but thanks to the funding from the Asda Foundation when we do restart it in January it's going to be a big part of what we do; it's going to be fantastic.
"By running the breakfast club we will be able to provide a free social activity for people with learning disabilities and autism to come and make friends and learn about healthy eating and have some breakfast as quite a lot of them don't have breakfast. It will also give our artists an opportunity to use their like skills to cook and create things for other people as will also be inviting in people from different groups or we would take outside the centre and visit care homes.
"I initially contacted Asda about a small pot of money that they were offering to help with heating costs.. and then it went from there. It was amazing; the funding for the breakfast club and the Christmas event on top was a nice surprise.
"We can't thank Joan and everybody at Asda for making it all possible and we can't wait to invite them to join us for breakfast at some point."