A charitable organisation in Northumberland has received a grant for almost £27,000 from the Asda Foundation.
Blyth Star Enterprises has been awarded the funding after receiving support from the Asda Blyth store at Cowpen Road in recognition of the outstanding work they do within local communities across South East Northumberland.
From its headquarters in Blyth, Blyth Star Enterprises operates a number of social care services to help provide support to more than 300 people across the region who suffer with serious, long-term mental ill health and learning disabilities.
Established in 1987, Blyth Star Enterprises was founded on the basic principle that everyone should have somewhere to live, somewhere to work and someone to care. Through the provision of day services, work experience training programmes, life coaching and supported accommodation, Blyth Star Enterprises is helping to improve the quality of life for its service users within their own communities.
The money donated by the Asda Foundation has been put towards a van, a grass cutter and a range of other electric and manual gardening tools to be utilised by the mobile gardening team, as well as a large garden workshop and a poly tunnel which will be erected at the Stakeford Nurseries for use as a potting shed, storage area and community space.
Chief Executive Officer at Blyth Star Enterprises, Gordon Moore, explained: “The grant we have received from Asda will enable us to make considerable improvements to the Stakeford Nurseries, which is a space that both service users and the wider community can enjoy.
“Even in our modern society, there are stigmas attached to mental health. One of Blyth Star Enterprises’ primary aims is to break down these barriers and help bridge the gap between our service users and their local communities, so that they can find a sense of belonging and lead an independent lifestyle.
“One of the ways we have achieved this is through our Horticultural Project. Based at the Stakeford Nurseries, the Horticultural Project aims to increase social inclusion, community participation, skill acquisition and future employability for people with mental ill health and/or learning disabilities.
“As part of our project, we grow and sell produce back to the local community from a dedicated retail unit and we also provide a mobile gardening service to elderly and disabled residents who can no longer manage their own gardens.
“At the moment, our mobile gardening service benefits around 100 households across South East Northumberland, but demand far outstrips supply, which is why we are looking to establish a secondary mobile gardening team in the new year using the funds donated by the Asda Foundation."
“This money will help us to reach more people in the community who are perhaps not as able to attend to these duties as often as they would like while at the same time, provide our service users with invaluable work experience. It’s difficult to put into words just how beneficial it is to work with and be supported by local businesses such as Asda.”
Blyth Star Enterprises first heard about the Asda Foundation through the Charity Commission online, but were encouraged to apply for funding by one of its staff, Jade McDonald, who has a connection with Asda’s Blyth superstore through a friendship with the store’s community champion, Diane Dinning.
Julie Ward, Asda Foundation manager, said: “We see the Foundation as one of the many ways to give something back to the communities that support us. That’s why we lend a hand to the wide range of good causes with which our colleagues are involved, sharing their passion and helping to make a difference through a variety of projects across the UK."
“Supporting smaller, local applications such as Blyth Star Enterprises is really important to us – and we hope it will make a real difference within the local community in Blyth.”
Photo caption: (L to R) Gordon Moore, Chief Executive Officer at Blyth Star Enterprises, Diane Dinning, Asda Community Champion, Aiden Rutherford, Asda Store Manager, Jade McDonald, Support Worker at Blyth Star Enterprises and Blyth Star service users.