A WHITCHURCH support group has benefitted from funding from a community help scheme.

Since its launch in 2016, Tesco Bags of Help grants in Whitchurch have gone towards a number of local groups including Helping Hands, who received a £500 Covid-19 grant earlier this year.

The money has gone towards supporting several projects, primarily providing sewing materials to make PPE for local care homes in the Whitchurch area.

Steve Chapman, one of the founding members of Helping Hands, said he has been taken by surprise by the effect of group.

"When we started, we had no idea what to expect," said Steve. "We wanted to bring a sense of normality and reassurance to local residents, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

"We threw bureaucracy out the window and decided to keep things very simple by having one helpline people can call.

"Sue, who answers the phones, has become like another family member for many people who are just looking for a friendly voice and a bit of understanding.

"If one good thing is going to come out of this pandemic, it's that people have started caring about one another.

"Folk like my eldest daughter have got to know people in the town she'd never spoken to before.

"I'm a huge advocate of community spirit and our network of volunteers – both young and old – will be a wonderful legacy for our town, and one which I believe will go on serving our town long into the future."

Dawn McGettigan, store manager at Tesco's Whitchurch Superstore, added: "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 the what impact five years of hard work and an 'Every Little Helps' mentality can have on a community like ours in Whitchurch.

"We hope to continue helping people in the local community for many years to come.

"We'd encourage any local groups, in need of extra food or funding, to please get in touch with us."

Dawn added: "With £140,000 pounds and 16,000 meals donated, I'd like to say a particular thanks to our Tesco staff 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."

Any local groups that would benefit from Bags of Help funding are encouraged to apply via www.tescobagsofhelp.org.uk