When we were first approached with the prospect of raising funds for a local charity, I don't think we knew just how involved we would get.
From this time last year, where our contributions helped marshal the crowds at 2015’s Carols at the Castle evening in Cardiff, to this year's event where we were the main sponsors after a fundraising drive which has seen us donate £5,000 to Tŷ Hafan, it really has been a great experience for our teams and brought us all together for a great reason.
Aside from the overall fundraising contribution, we've had some amazing days; notably a great evening at the Gatsby Ball where our Area Christmas Party was held, and visited the hospice on 1 December to see the tremendous work the charity does for children.
The fundraising cause has really swept through our stores, and the effort and willingness to support through different activities has been huge from all involved. We dressed up as bunny rabbits, we drew raffles, we threw paint over the fun runners in Barry Island, we pushed our collection boxes until we could no more and we worked to make a difference where it matters.
At One Stop, charity and community really is at the heart of what we do. As part of Tesco, and with around 800 owned stores in the business, we understand how vital the fundraising efforts we do really are. Throughout the country, our store teams all push to raise as much as possible. We try to do our best for all. It’s the local charities which always strike a chord and make the difference where it matters. We could say it's been a difficult challenge to raise the amount of money we have, but it would be untrue. In reality, people have been happy to donate for such a noble cause, and we've enjoyed every minute of our fundraising journey.
From a personal perspective, I think I was truly shown the real value of the hospice by my manager Shaun Stringer. By just some words of wisdom, reflecting the value and importance of the work the great people do every day, it caught me and reminded me of my own family. I've had a busy year – a new baby, a wedding, new house; it's been eventful. The thought of having that world turned upside down doesn't bear thinking about - which is why Tŷ Hafan is exceptional in its efforts to support children and families. Parenthood significantly changes your outlook on life as a whole and, in all honesty, I had no real idea before how valuable the work the hospice does for just normal people every single day. In reality though, we might never be too far away from needing the help and support the hospice provides.
Our teams have all done their bit to ensure we have delivered what we set out do, but the passion behind the efforts has been something else. It has really made me proud, and continues the great relationship which we've built with the hospice.
I'd like to sign off with a final thank you on behalf of One Stop. For those who are parents within our teams, we all understand the value of what you do and whilst we hope we'll never need you, it's wonderful to know you're there.
Keep up the fantastic work guys - it's much appreciated by us all.