Tesco grant provides vital lifeline to Belfast social enterprise iAssist NI

Tesco’s Community Grant enabled local social enterprise iAssist NI to continue supporting those in need throughout the pandemic.

iAssist, located on the Ormeau Road Belfast, is a befriending service that was created to tackle isolation and loneliness within the local community and to promote positive community relationships. One of their key focuses are helping those from underrepresented and underprivilged communities.

iAssist NI received the money through the mental health fund supported by the supermarket’s Community Grant scheme, which uses the money raised from the levy on carrier bags to fund projects across the UK.

The project focuses on providing companionship services to those in need. Many of those people are extremely isolated and this service ensures they have someone to talk to.

The £1000 grant provided a vital lifeline to the organisation who rely on community volunteers to provide their life-enhancing services. The befrienders work with a range of people including the elderly, those suffering from mental health issues, those with long term illness, carers and those without family nearby

Israel Eguaogie, Service Coordinator at iAssist NI said“The funding we received from Tesco helped us to provide a much needed service to those who need it, our main purpose is to serve the community and this fund helps us to do that.”

“The fund helped us support our befrienders and gave us the resources we needed to provide support in a time of great isolation; reducing stress and worry, but also ensuring people felt cared for and valued.”

The project provides a range of companionship services, including visiting people’s homes, meeting for lunch or coffee as well as going for a walk. They also create community-based events that will encourage the participation of service users whilst providing an enjoyable environment for socialising.  Past events have included healthy cooking and lifestyle sessions, meet your neighbour food events and arts and crafts sessions.

Donna McCotter, Tesco’s Community Champion for Yorkgate, added: “It’s wonderful to see the dedication of iAssist to help their local community. This shows first-hand how a Community Grant can have a positive impact on local communities”.

Tesco works in partnership with Groundwork to deliver its Community Grant funding scheme, which provides grants to thousands of local projects in communities across the UK, all voted on by customers in store.

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop using the blue token given to them at checkouts. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding of between £4,000 and £1,000.

Community groups and charities can apply for funding and Tesco customers and colleagues can nominate projects that they would like to see receive a boost. Just ask in store for more information or visit the Community Grants website,  tescocommunitygrants.org.uk.

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