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Asda community champions conjure up some magical Christmas surprises

By Asda Community Team

December 18, 2017 01:27pm
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Our stores’ community champions have been helping make this Christmas one of the best ever for some of the voluntary support groups in their local area – by presenting them with surprise grants from the Asda Foundation.

You can see how much the grants mean to the volunteers who do so much for their local community when you see photos like the one above.

Our Tonypandy store’s community champion Karen Thomas had just told Elizabeth Williams the Asda Foundation was giving her £10,000 to help her keep running a community centre she’s taken over from the local council.

Elizabeth has turned the centre in the Rhondda Valley into a vital community hub for young and old. She posted on Facebook afterwards to say: “Thank you Asda, you have no idea what this donation means to us at Canolfan Pentre – the financial security this money provides gives us the ability to ensure our users and volunteers can rest easy in the knowledge that we can keep our doors open 💞💞💞” Read the full story here.

Our community champions regularly volunteer with deserving good causes near their stores – and this month the Asda Foundation gave them the chance to nominate dozens of the groups they support to receive a surprise Christmas grant.

Asda Larne Christmas surprise for Good Morning Larne
Asda Larne Christmas surprise for Good Morning Larne

This was the wonderful moment when our Larne store's community champion Catherine McCallion surprised Barbara-Ann Gilchrist with a £10,000 cheque for the befriending service she runs for local elderly people who live on their own. She sprang the surprise at a party for volunteers and people who use the Good Morning Larne support service. Find out more here.

Volunteers at the Mend It community group in Walsall thought our St Matthews store's community champion Martin Bateman was donating five turkeys for them to provide a Christmas meal for the lonely and vulnerable – and he tweeted this video showing their emotional reaction when he instead gave them a grant for £5,000!

One of the volunteers at a local community support group for the elderly was thrilled when she thought our Hulme store's community champion Angela McIntosh had donated £500 ... so watch this video to see her reaction when she realised the cheque was actually for £5,000!

Our Hereford store's community champion June Thurston and general store manager Stuart Goldspink (below) surprised South Wye Development Trust with a £10,000 Asda Foundation grant for their community centre, which June says is a real community hub. She said: "When Amanda Evans from the Trust opened up the cheque she was absolutely thrilled – and stunned!"

Hereford colleagues present local group with surprise donation

Volunteers at a soup kitchen and food bank near Glasgow received a huge boost when colleagues from our Coatbridge store surprised them with a £6,000 donation from the Asda Foundation to improve their kitchen. The cheque was presented by Ann Binks and Sandra Purkiss, both of whom volunteer at the Helping Hands Soup Kitchen throughout the year and will be giving up their own time to help feed people in need at the kitchen on Christmas Day. Read more here.

Asda Foundation Christmas surprise for Helping Hands Soup Kitchen
Asda Foundation Christmas surprise for Helping Hands Soup Kitchen

Volunteers at St Aiden's Community Centre were amazed to receive a £5,000 cheque from our Gosforth community champion Michelle Castledine and general store manager Emma Frostick (below). The centre's a community hub for all ages and the money will go towards buying new lighting for their centre.

Group receive surprise grant from Gosforth colleagues

You can see why the volunteers at the Downs and Special Friends support group described themselves as "absolutely flabbergasted" when they were presented with a surprise £6,000 Christmas grant from the Asda Foundation by our Dewsbury store's community champion Sharon Kingswood in this picture:

The group receive the cheque
Dewsbury group receive the cheque

Afterwards Cassim-Zahira Dadipatel posted on Facebook: "A massive thank you to Asda – especially Sharon for all her hard work and effort. I was at the Xmas party with my family when Sharon presented the group with the cheque. We're all shocked, overwhelmed, lost for words and in tears. It's going to make a massive difference to our children." Read the full story here.

In Boston our community champion Stephen Bromby and general store manager Joseph Murphy presented a £2,000 cheque to Inspire Lincs – a group which provides a vital lifeline to adults with learning difficulties. They're planning to spend some of the money on new costumes for their drama performances.

Boston colleagues present Inspire Lincs with surprise grant

Our three Warrington stores have supported their local community church, the Salvation Army, for the last five years. Each Christmas volunteers at the church help as many vulnerable people as they can, donating food hampers and gifts, and the community champions from our Warrington, Westbrook and Birchwood stores have all provided presents from the in-store gift trolley, as well as volunteering at events and securing support from the Asda Foundation.

Liz Cotterill from our Warrington store said colleagues were overjoyed to present Dave and Rita from the Salvation Army (pictured below) with a cheque for £5,000. She said: "Rita said, 'I can’t believe it! Really are you sure? Oh I’m off to bank it this afternoon!' Their kitchen serves hundreds of people every week and is in desperate need of renovation, so this money has come at the right time."

Asda Warrington Christmas surprise
Warrington surprise grant

In the picture below, husband and wife Reverends Andrew and Carol Avery couldn’t hide their emotions when our Greenhithe colleague Bridget Sparks surprised them with a cheque for £10,000 to pay for a big storage unit for furniture, bedding and clothing they collect for local people and families who are vulnerable or in need. Read the full story.

Asda Greenhithe Christmas surprise
Asda Greenhithe Christmas surprise

Colleagues from our Cardiff Bay store presented Grangetown Community Concern with a cheque for £5,000. The organisation brings people together from all around the area and the money will help them refurbish the pavilion which hosts regular events.

Cardiff Bay donation
Cardiff Bay donation

Loughshore Group in Portadown provide events, activities and support for elderly people in the area. They were stunned to receive a £5,000 cheque from our Portadown store's community champion Elaine Livingstone ... as you can see from this photo below!

Portadown colleague Elaine presents surprise grant

Here's our Pwllheli store's community champion Jo Scott getting ready to surprise volunteers at Banc Bwyd Pwllheli with a £2,000 cheque from the Asda Foundation. Ursula Whitehouse, one of the food bank's volunteers, said: “This will give us an opportunity to engage with local families, some of whom need more support than we can give at present. The cheque was a wonderful Christmas surprise for us – thank you Asda!"

Jo Scott from Asda Pwllheli
Jo from Pwllheli preparing to hand over a surprise grant

Pupils at Barking Abbey School have been going out of their way to help local elderly people this Christmas – so our nearby Dagenham store’s community champion Gemma Gray arranged a special surprise for them so they can do even more when she joined them at their Christmas party for local pensioners. Find out more.

Asda Dagenham community champion Gemma Gray with students from Barking Abbey School
Gemma with two students

Our Enniskillen store's community champion Simon Harron was on hand to present Enniskillen Food Bank with a £1,000 surprise grant.

Enniskillen food bank receive Asda Foundation donation from colleagues

Our Sutton store's community champion Tracey Jacques presented Christians Against Poverty with a £2,000 grant. They offer debt advice and job courses and they will be putting the money towards family outings for some of their service users.

CAP receive surprise donation from Sutton colleagues

Take a look at some more pictures from our Christmas surprises across the country here:

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