Comic Relief will end the year with a multi-million pound Christmas present from Sainsbury’s. The supermarket has pledged support for the charity for another six years, which will see the total raised by Sainsbury’s, its colleagues and customers, soar past the £100m mark.
The announcement was made at Sainsbury's in Cromwell Road, West London, where chief executive Justin King met Comic Relief chief executive, Kevin Cahill along with long-time Comic Relief supporters Lenny Henry, Claudia Winkleman and Danielle Lineker.
Speaking at the event, Lenny Henry said: "Sainsbury's staff and customers have raised unbelievable amounts of money for Comic Relief in the past and this new deal marks something truly incredible! £100 million pounds is an insane amount of money and having seen firsthand where every penny goes, I am so proud to be a part of this, it's going to change a lot of lives."
Having raised nearly £60 million since 1999, Sainsbury's is Comic Relief's largest corporate partner, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of all the money raised by the great British public for Comic Relief over the past 12 years. This year, Sainsbury's customers and colleagues raised a record £11.4 million for the charity through merchandise sales and fundraising. Sainsbury's colleagues alone raised over £2 million. This new commitment aims to raise a further £50 million over the six year period, taking in three more Red Nose Days and three Sport Reliefs.
Sainsbury's chief executive, Justin King said: "We've been working with Comic Relief for over a decade and have achieved an incredible amount in that time. Our customers and colleagues have raised a huge amount of money, providing essential support and investment, benefitting thousands of people in theUKand the world's poorest countries.
"The generosity of everyone involved in fundraising never fails to amaze me as people gave more this year than ever before. It seems that no matter how tough the economic climate, people continue to want to help those less fortunate. This new commitment will ensure that we can continue with the great work we do with Comic Relief for the foreseeable future."
Danielle Lineker added: "This deal is absolutely incredible. £100 million is an amount that you can't fail to be amazed at! This money is going to help people living unimaginable hardship and having seen the positive change Comic Relief create for so many lives, I know how important and valued the support from Sainsbury's staff and customers is."
Comic Relief chief executive, Kevin Cahill, said: "Sainsbury's has shown an exceptional commitment to Comic Relief over the past 12 years and has been a driving force in raisingmillions of pounds for Red Nose Day and Sport Relief. We're delighted that together, along with ongoing support from its incredible colleagues and customers, we can raise millions more to help transform the lives of vulnerable people here in the UK and across the world's poorest countries. For one company to help raise £100 million will be truly historic."
Since Sainsbury's began working with Comic Relief, money raised by the supermarket has been used to fund hundreds of projects that aim to battle poverty in the UK and around the world. Sainsbury's and Oxfam are the only retailers to sell the famous Comic Relief Red Noses as well as a range of Comic Relief merchandise. Money raised will help people living unimaginably tough lives in the UK and across the world's poorest countries. For example, £1 could provide a child living in poverty in Africa with a pair of glasses so that they can learn to read and write in school.
£50 could pay for a specialist worker to help mothers and children rebuild relationships that have been torn apart by domestic abuse.£100 could enable a woman living in poverty in Malawi to plant two acres of Fairtrade peanuts, which she can sell at a fair price to help support herself and her family. £1 million could transform the lives of more than 45,000 people living in grinding poverty within a Kenyan slum, providing better housing, safe drinking water, improved sanitation and job opportunities to help families make ends meet.
Sainsbury's work with Comic Relief over the coming year will go some way towards helping the supermarket achieve its recently announced target to have raised £400m for charitable causes by 2020. The commitment is part of Sainsbury's 20 by 20 sustainability plan which sets out 20 targets to be met by the year 2020.
Notes to editors