Asda Blantyre Community Champion reflects on 10 years

Asda Community Champion Mary Sutherland has been going above and beyond for the Blantyre community for over ten years.

The Asda Community Champion programme celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and Blantyre’s Community Champion, Mary Sutherland has spoken with pride and passion for the position.

Mary reflected on how she started off in her role at the Checkouts in Asda over twenty years ago, which eventually led to her joining the Community Champion Programme.

She said: 

“I was working on the Checkouts when I joined Asda, and I remember the buzz of the Community Colleague role – I wasn’t too sure about the nature of the job, but it looked like it was great fun!” 

Mary has a strong passion for her community and goes above and beyond in her role to support local schools and community groups. She has been extremely committed to her role and continued to provide opportunities to those who needed it most during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

She said: 

“The first group I worked with was a local pensioners group, who we also recently supported through the Asda Foundation. During lockdown their numbers dwindled, and I was worried they wouldn’t make it through but after receiving the grant, they have more members than ever before!”

“I have also been working with our local school to set up a Social Enterprise called ‘Rethink Food’. It has been such a rewarding experience and the pupils have really got stuck in! As a result, the school will also be receiving 25 laptops, which is a huge achievement.”  

Mary plays an important role in the community and her dedication and commitment to supporting the community groups has been well received. She has developed strong relationships with a variety of people throughout the local area and always does what she can to support them.

Mary said:

“Honestly, our community makes it easy to do my job. We have great community groups and volunteers who always make sure I know what’s going on and where Asda can help.” 

“Our groups are always thanking me and I can’t go anywhere without bumping into a new or old friend that has benefited from Asda’s support.”

“I continue to have a great relationship with all the groups – they all have that community spirit that saw us come together during the recent hard times, to make sure we all got through it together. I don’t take myself too seriously and that helps with groups too!”

“Our community has a high proportion of people who are living below the poverty line, and I can see first-hand how the support we give some groups help families that are struggling, it’s that important! With things the way they are and the hard times that are coming, people in the lowest income households will be hit hardest, and we will keep that in mind with future projects.” 

Mary explained how grateful she is for the support from her colleagues at Asda Blantyre, who are always going out of their way to help Mary succeed.

She said:

“I honestly do not have the words to tell you how supportive the Asda Blantyre family is. Last year, due to restrictions, most of our charity donations came from our colleagues.  We held several colleague activities including a bonus ball, raffles and tombola’s which raised over £5,000 for Tickled Pink.”

“Having a supportive Store Manager and leadership team is key, I am very proud of our colleagues and what they do to go above and beyond every day for both myself and our community.”

As Mary reflects on the community programme, she is hopeful for the future and grateful that the Asda Foundation has enabled her to become a fundamental part of the community. She plans to celebrate 10 years of the programme by shining a light on all of the groups Asda Blantyre has supported.

She said:

“We are planning to invite some of the representatives from the Community Groups to the store for a coffee and a chat (and cake of course!). We have a lot of people who have been part of the journey so I will make sure to visit as many groups as I can to remind them of all the incredible support the Asda Foundation can give.”

“I often tell people I have the best job in Asda, and I mean every word of it. It is a huge privilege to do this job and to see the difference that Asda makes in my community.”

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