OVER the last five years, Tesco shoppers from across Newbury have helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes and donated thousands of meals to feed the town’s residents.

Latest figures show that the retailer’s Bags of Help grant scheme, run in partnership with charity Groundwork, has so far donated more than £270,000 to dozens of grassroots groups and charities across the area.

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And since its launch in 2015, Tesco’s Community Food Connection scheme has donated 64,000 meals from redistributed surplus food to the town’s community groups - the equivalent of giving 35 people a meal every day.

Since its launch in 2016, Bags of Help grants in Newbury have gone towards supporting a wide range of groups, including the West Berks Foodbank, Newbury Soup Kitchen and Homestart Newbury, which have been providing support for families during Covid-19 through family coordinators.

Ashley Brooks, Store Manager at Tesco’s Newbury Extra, said: “All the colleagues across our store are so proud to be able to support the community directly in this way.

“The figures are excellent to see, and it shows what impact five years of hard work and an Every Little Helps mentality can have on a community like ours in Newbury.

"We hope to continue helping people for many years to come.”

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A local charity that recently benefitted from the Bags of Help grant is the West Berkshire Homeless charity.

The charity took part in Tesco’s recent Covid-19 Bags of Help support scheme, which provided emergency grants of £500 to charities across the country to help mitigate the impact the outbreak had on charities.

Erica Gassor, Trustee and General Secretary at West Berkshire Homeless in the Newbury area, said: “We are delighted to receive the funding from Tesco, because it has been invaluable during the pandemic.

"The funds have provided essentials such as gas and electricity, phones and top-ups for phones, ensuring that those who are in the greatest need have the much-needed basics in life.”

Ashley added: “With £270,000 and 64,000 meals donated, I’d like to say a particular thanks to our Tesco colleagues and customers who have made this achievement possible.

"On a weekly basis, we’re always hearing anecdotally from our customers just how important these initiatives are for the area.”

Newbury groups that would benefit from Bags of Help funding are encouraged to apply.