Store’s charity shin-dig

LtoR Waitrose Ponteland partners Caitlin Stoddart, Sarah-Jane Bonnar and Andy Denyer with members of the Lions of Zululand
LtoR Waitrose Ponteland partners Caitlin Stoddart, Sarah-Jane Bonnar and Andy Denyer with members of the Lions of Zululand

MORE than 30 charities and groups that have benefited from a Ponteland food store’s project were celebrated for their important work at a special reception.

The town’s Waitrose branch threw a party at the Memorial Hall for all the good causes which received funding from the company’s 2011 Community Matters Scheme.

And one of the charities put on some exciting entertainment. South African touring youth dance group the Lions of Zululand, whose UK base is in Newcastle, performed traditional Zulu song and dance to a captivated audience.

The organisations, some set up by local residents for the Ponteland community and others regional groups or branches with a presence in the town, were given over £12,000 worth of donations between them.

Those that were represented on the day included Children North East, Ponteland Red Squirrels, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Friends of Marie Curie, Dyslexia North East, Inner Wheel Club of Ponteland, Leonard Cheshire Disability, The ITP Support Association and toma fund, a charity supporting children with cancer.

Waitrose section manager and organiser of the event Alan Allsopp said: “We wanted to honour the fantastic work that all these charities do within the community and say thank you for the time and commitment the individual workers put into these worthwhile causes.

“The wonderful thing about the Waitrose Community Matters Scheme is that the charities are nominated and voted for by the public, which means we get to support a really diverse range of causes. This is the first time we’ve held this event, but we hope to make it an annual celebration of all the local charities we support, which will help us build strong relationships and lasting ties.”

The scheme was launched nationally in 2008 and it allows residents to nominate a charity or organisation to be voted for in their local store by customers, using green tokens received at the checkout with every purchase.

Three different charities are highlighted each month with all three receiving a share of £1,000, divided up based on the number of votes received.

Denise Chapman, from Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “With available funding continually being reduced, we are always actively seeking volunteers to help with the work we do and to raise our profile across the region.

“The event was great fun and we are really thankful for the continued support we receive from Waitrose.”

To nominate a charity for inclusion in the Waitrose Community Matters Scheme, speak to a member of staff in-store.