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John Hogan and I went to Sainsburys and did a presentation to a number of their staff about the charity and the impact it has on our childrens’ lives. We were totally delighted to find out the very same day that we had been chosen as their charity partner for the next 12 months.
We started the year with a bag pack and the first one we learned a lot from. For the future bag packs we got tabards advertising the charity and were much better represented. On some days we even had more volunteers to man the tills than we had tills to man which was amazing. Our parents, members and their siblings and friends worked really hard and we used the fantastic opportunity to talk to a lot of lovely customers in Sainsburys about the work of the Charity and our amazing children. So not only did we raise money but we got the chance to tell people about how brilliantly our children do with the right support. As a parent I never ceased to be amazed by the generosity of the customers at the tills and how ready they were to talk to us about our work.
The Paralympic Torch event was a huge success. The 2 paralympic table tennis champs were stunning in their skills and brilliant at letting other children play with them with endless patience (especially with Declan who just took over the bat and bossed everyone around) Again though, not only did we fund raise, but we got an amazing opportunity to speak to Sainsburys customers and to show off our children doing everyday things.
We had a really fun event “Frocks for a fiver” which raised funds from donated items. I am still wearing my lovely dress and the donor knows who she is!!! Who can forget Britney dressed up – it’s a sight that near blinded my poor eyes and not one to be forgotten in a hurry!
One of the highlights for me personally was the Knowsley Safari trip the store organised, that saw us take our football team children off to Knowsley for the day in the October half term, with some of the Sainsburys team on board as well. The store provided masses of fruit, drinks, chocolates and cakes to make it a really fun day. We were allowed to get one child out of the bus and have pictures taken with the monkeys – not in the enclosure!!! but by the railings and Declan jumped off the bus like a rabbit out of a trap! We were so very lucky and it is not a moment I will forget in a hurry.
The staff sorted absolutely everything out, so all we had to do was turn up and be where we needed to be. The birds of prey display was something else with the birds flying right over our heads. And despite being a bit smelly, the sea lions behaved very well and let the kids get up close afterwards. Declan’s highlight however, was the Bat house that we spent an hour in. He ADORES bats for some reason and he still talks about going back to the bat house. Not only did the fruit bats fly about but their food was also on the ground so that they crawled on the floor right in front of you and even across the walk ways so you got really close to them. Not ideal for the bat haters, but my son thought he was in heaven! It was a really dry but cold day at the Safari Park but with an extra jumper we would all do it all over again. The staff from the store enjoyed it as much as we did and it was great to let them see our kids in action for a long spell. The feedback from them was how very well behaved our children were and what a pleasure they were to be with – but of course we all know that!!!!
In October we also were lucky to receive £1000 from the company that built the revamped petrol station. That would not have happened if the store had not nominated us and it paid for almost all of the Christmas presents for our children and their siblings at the Christmas party. A very generous gesture very gladly received.
In summary. I would like to say a massive thank you to Cheryl and all the team at Sainsburys who made the parents and our children so very welcome at every event they hosted. I always felt very comfortable going there and never felt like our children were a bother to them. Because of the way the team at the store behaved towards us, our parents turned out in droves to support us at the bag packs and this has been a true partnership between store and parents. We were very fortunate to have their support – well done to everyone at Sainsburys at East Prescot Road. You are a credit to yourselves and to the company you represent. Thankyou from Ana Gilmurray.