This Christmas our wonderful community champions are surprising the charities, groups and good causes that do so much great work in their local areas – like the Joseph Mayer Community Partnership in the Wirral.
Community champions Helen-Louise Sestan-Burton from our Bromborough store and Ian Grant from Asda Arrowe Park presented the group with a cheque for £5,000 from the Asda Foundation so it can refurbish the hall and host more activities.
They presented the cheque to the group while they helped out at a Christmas party attended by 300 people. Helen-Louise made arts, crafts and balloon animals with the children, while Ian played festive songs and got many of the children up dancing. They also arranged and helped set up a special Santa's grotto, complete with snow, reindeer and snowmen.
The money will help the group turn its premises into a community hub, hosting parties, regular clubs and meetings.
The group's chair Dennis Boyd said: "When I saw the cheque I got quite emotional – I had tears coming down my face.
"We're a small group; we work hard and struggle to raise money, and this is the best thing that's happened to us since we formed. We're still trying to get used to the fact we've got £5,000 to spend! We're used to working with pennies and scrimping and saving, and the fact this has arrived at Christmas makes it extra special.
"There are so many things we need – we've lost a couple of potential bookings because we don't have a screen and projector, we need new curtains, and we're also looking to improve a second building which is next to Mayer Hall. The money will help us improve the appeal of both buildings."
Helen-Louise, who was joined at the party by her four–year–old son Noah, said: "Dennis was totally stunned. We'd rolled the cheque up inside the cracker like a scroll, and when he unravelled it he was just speechless. He was wiping tears from eyes – it was a real 'oh my God' moment. I think we were all quite choked up too because it was clear how much this donation means to him and the group."
Dennis said: "Everyone loved the party. Helen-Louise and Ian have supported the group from day one, and they are a great team – they're incredible people."
Ian, pictured below at the party, explained why he and Helen-Louise wanted to support the group. He said: "There aren't many places in the local area for community groups to hold their events so this group are providing a lifeline to local people by saving and refurbishing the buildings.
"These are two very nice buildings, donated by a local philanthropist, which are key to the history of the area and it's important to support this group who are working to save them.
"They've hosted Christmas parties and summer parties where local families have come together and they want to host more. Dennis and the whole group are really passionate about the local community and this money will help them succeed."