Tesco say every little helps ... and that certainly applied to every single coin-sized blue token posted into Tesco Bags of Help voting machines by shoppers across Blackpool Fylde and Wyre branches of Tesco over January and February for three local charities.
It led to really BIG help for N-Vision, the Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, which was presented with the biggest of the three grants awarded by Simon Court, manager of the flagship Clifton Retail Park Tesco superstore, this week.
In for the count were N-Vision, Blackpool Music Academy and Lancashire Citizens Advice. They were already winners, simply by being chosen for the recent seven-week round of the local Bags of Help project. A new vote for other community projects is now underway.
It was up to big hearted shoppers to determine just how much each charity got from the three awards available on this regular seven week cycle of £7k community support from Tescos across the country.
They used the tokens presented to them at the checkout on paying for their shopping to vote as they left the store.
Bags of Help has now provided N-Vision with a chance to shine by raising enough money to fund an external low level lighting project for 2500 clients of the charity and 46 residents of the award winning Princess Alexandra Home at Bosworth Place, Squires Gate, Blackpool. It's much needed. And good lighting is crucial to many helped by the charity's core work - as well as by visitors and residents to the home.
Based in Blackpool, the charity covers all three local boroughs, Blackpool Fylde and Wyre, reaching from coast to deep inland, busy towns, urban communities, rural areas, with support services for blind and visually impaired clients, including Talking Newspaper, eye clinic liaison, community services, low vision serivces, assistive tech, cafe clubs and so much more.
In bagging the top award - the charity asked for £3,376 rather than the full £4k available - work will now be able to start on lighting the path (and replacing corroded bollards) at the Bosworth Place base of a busy charity which can trace its roots back to the beginning of the last century.
"This will make a big difference to our 2500 clients and 46 residents who are visually impaired," said Trina Parkinson, N-Vision's finance and administration manager who shaped the project and the application for community aid. "We can't thank Tesco - and the local community - enough."
The vote extended from the flagship store to individual Tesco Express branches across the local community.
The vote went in N-Vision's favour, bagging the biggest Bag of Help, with the second grant of £2k going to Blackpool Music Academy community interest concern, founded by John Shaw, who attended the presentation, and £1000 for Lancashire Citizens Advice, who were unable to attend.
Locally, the Clifton Retail Park (Marton) superstore and its trailblazing Blackpool Extra community team, led by community champion Lynn Sumner, who retires this month after almost 24 years with Tesco, backs huge projects in the local community.
It supports an annual Christmas Tree appeal for local children, Race for Life, Bags of Help and food collections from shoppers (and donations from the store itself) for food banks and others. There's even an in-store community meeting room which is well used by local groups.
Last November the Blackpool Tesco team were named Most Charitable Business in Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden's Local Heroes Awards in an awards ceremony in the ballroom of Blackpool Tower.
"We're delighted to support local organisations," says store manager Simon Court. "It's part of who and what we are. And Lynn's a great community champion, I'm fully aware of the role she plays within the local community - and how much she gives of her own time, too. She will be much missed."
Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £71 million to over 23,000 local community projects.
For N-Vision, work will now start on bringing the project to life.
Ruth Lambert, Chief Executive of N-Vision, said: “The grant monies will be used to purchase and install external low-level lighting to assist our visually impaired clients find their way to our premises. We are very grateful for the support from Tesco and Groundwork and in particular we wish to express a huge THANK YOU to all those customers who supported our project. We’d also like to express our very best wishes to Lynn Sumner, Tesco’s own local community champion, for her whole hearted support of the local community, and wish her a long and happy retirement."
Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help contributes funds to community projects up and down the country and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers voting in their local stores. We’re looking forward to seeing more projects brought to life.”
Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”
In addition, to mark Tesco’s 100th year, they have announced two special voting rounds, Tesco Bags of Help Centenary Grants, in summer and winter 2019 with larger grant amounts available over wider geographic regions. Please look online for more information on if they can support your group either through the normal Bags of Help vote or Tesco Bags of Help Centenary Grants.
Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp.
For more on N-Vision call the community services team on 01253 363696.
"This will make a big difference to our 2500 clients and 46 residents who are visually impaired. We can't thank Tesco & the local community enough. "
Trina Parkinson, N-Vision finance admin chief
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