A big well done to colleagues at our Larne store who teamed up with volunteers from a telephone friendship service for elderly people to raise thousands of pounds at a Strictly-style dance evening.
The store's community champion Catherine McCallion has joined the volunteers at Good Morning Larne every Thursday for the last four years as they ring older people in the area who may otherwise be isolated, and she's a passionate supporter of their work. Catherine helped to organise the dance evening and then secured an Asda Foundation grant which together have raised more than £11,000.
She was joined by nine colleagues from the store and eight volunteers from Good Morning Larne at the dance event at Ballygally Castle Hotel – raising more than £9,000.
Catherine then invited volunteers from the group into the store – and colleagues surprised them with a flash mob routine during which she presented a cheque from the Asda Foundation for a further £2,000.
Catherine said: "I've joined the volunteers to make phone calls every Thursday for about the last four years. They're a wonderful organisation.
"The money is absolutely vital and means they can keep this service going, and also means they can treat the people they help to days out. I know they're planning to take a big group of them to the Belfast Tattoo in September which they will absolutely love.
"We helped the volunteers sell tickets for the dance event and joined in the dancing too. It was a brilliant night which everyone really enjoyed."
Catherine also organised a surprise £10,000 grant for the group in December 2017, much to the surprise and amazement of the group's coordinator Barbara-Ann Gilchrist:
Barbara-Ann said: "The Asda Larne colleagues and our volunteers put on a show-stopping performance at the event – and I really admire their dedication, from the long hours of practising to all the effort they put into the dancing.
"Without this support, we wouldn’t be able to continue to offer the same level of care to some of the most vulnerable people in our local community – so we are truly grateful for the continued backing from Asda colleagues and the Foundation.
“The donation will help to secure the future of our services – and we would like to say a special thank you to Catherine, for her support with this fundraising and also for helping every week with our calls.”