At Sainsbury’s we’re really proud to be an organisation that makes a positive difference in our community.
Whether through our national partnerships with Comic Relief and the Royal British Legion, or local work directly with smaller community groups, charities play an important role in our business and are highly valued by our customers and colleagues alike.
In 2009 we launched our Local Charity of the Year programme, giving stores and customers the chance to support a local charity that’s important to them. Since then, the programme has gone from strength to strength; and to date, we’ve supported over 8,000 local charities with more than £11 million raised for great causes and over £1.9 million raised last year alone.
Ahead of announcing this year’s results, we conducted some research to establish how engaged people already were with local charities. The findings were mixed and showed that, although people prefer to support local groups, there’s still a real need to increase engagement as almost one in five people were unable to name a single local charity. As a retailer that facilitates over 25 million customer transactions every week, our stores act as a hub in the community, meaning we have a crucial role to play and a real responsibility to bridge the gap between customers and the local charities supporting their communities.
That’s why we’re delighted to announce that this year’s Local Charity of the Year programme has received its highest ever number of customer votes. More than 1.9 million votes were cast in support of local charities. That’s a huge increase (up more than 440% since last year!) and we’re thrilled that people have been so engaged. As a result, more than 1,200 new local charity partnerships have been confirmed this year alone, and we expect these to bring in around £2 million for good causes in the year ahead.
Thanks to your votes, we’ll be helping make a difference right across the UK. Our partnerships stretch far and wide, not just in terms of geography but in the range of services they offer too. In Edinburgh, for example, we’ll be supporting the Teapot Trust, which provides professional art therapy to children across the country living with chronic illness. Meanwhile, over 400 miles away, customers in Cowes have chosen to support the Isle of Wight Homeless Shelter, where volunteers provide a warm and secure place to sleep for those in need. Over the next year, our stores will support their Local Charity partners with a range of holistic support including fundraising and awareness-raising opportunities in store, colleague volunteering and donations.
So as we look forward to seeing the new partnerships in action over the coming year and the difference our support can make to the new Local Charity partners, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for your fantastic engagement and support so far. With your support we’ll continue to be able to make a positive difference in our community, helping local groups and local people.
You can find out the winning charity for your local store by visiting: www.sainsburyslocalcharity.co.uk
Anya Todd; Community Affairs Manager for Sainsbury’s