Corporate responsibility might just seem like a fig leaf to cover the excessive profits of large corporations, but it’s still interesting to see how their charitable funding can help at a local level. Supermarkets have a particularly high profile within local communities and people shopping at Tesco and Asda will be used to voting for who should receive money for their projects.

St Matthews Gardens Residents Association is currently publicising their bid for money from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. With £4,000 at stake for the charity that tops the list, it’s money worth chasing. The association want to build a barbecue area to encourage families and friends to make more use of the garden in Silverhill during the summer and also to repair the Victorian gazebo.

So how do these schemes work and how do they benefit the community? The Tesco’s scheme has a rolling programme of three projects to vote for every two months. The project that gets the most votes is awarded up to £4,000, the next up £2,000 and the third place up to £1,000 – so everyone’s a winner. 

In 2018, within the Hastings area, there were 19 grants totalling about £46,000. Just three examples are: 
• £1,000 to Transition Towns for a mosaic at Warrior Square Station (still raising money on gofundme) 
• £2,000 to Street Bites, a local council project providing physical activity and healthy food to young people in deprived areas 
• £4,000 to the Association of Carers that provides respite for carers in Hastings and St Leonards.

These are substantial amounts of money and can make a big difference. Sue Palmer, the director of the Association of Carers said the money that they have been awarded is being used: “to provide unpaid carers with telephone support and telephone counselling”. She said this help is so important because: “Caring can have such a big impact on a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing such as loss of identity and poor self-esteem”.

Other local supermarkets run different schemes but what they have in common is that they are all supporting local communities. For example, with Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and The Co-op, the charity can apply directly for a grant; Asda have a voting scheme with donations of £400 and
£200 available for community funding; Lidl has its own food redistribution programme.

For more information: The Association of Carers telephone 01424 722309 (they also have a charity shop at 26 Queens Road), Street Bites;
• Meet you at the Mosaic fund raiser

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