Sainsbury’s Didcot on the ball for Oxfordshire’s sick children

Published: 3rd September 2014

A football match sees a year-long partnership kick off for the Didcot charity, Play2Give.

Supermarket shoppers in Didcot are being urged to dig deep and raise thousands more for charity at the town’s Sainsbury’s.

Staff at the Orchard Centre store have chosen Play2Give as the charity partner it will support over the next ten months. Its last chosen charity was the South and Vale Carers Centre in the town.

Play2Give was set up by 26-year-old Andy Baker from the town in 2007 and to date the fundraising group of volunteers have raised around £25,000 to date for local causes, including the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

It was chosen by staff from a shortlist of two local charities including Wallingford-based charity Style Acre.

Many ideas are being drawn up to raise the funds over the coming year. To kick start proceedings and to officially launch the partnership, a football match is being held on Sunday, September 14th.

The football match contested by a Sainsbury’s Stars staff team will take on Play2Give Allstars in a fun 90-minute game at the Loop Meadow ground, the home of Didcot Town Football Club. The match will kick off at 5pm with gates opening to supporters from 4.30pm. It is hoped the match, together with bucket donations, nibbles and drinks at a post-match gathering will raise a few hundred pounds. Even Chipper the Squirrel from The Treehouse Play Centre in the town will make a special appearance and help roll in funds.

The Didcot branch have already been supporting Play2Give over the last year, with sales of wristbands at customer services, and second-hand books sales which helped the store raise near £700 for Play2Give’s fundraising aims.

Reacting to the news of the partnership, Andy said: “We’re really thankful to our friends at Sainsbury’s Didcot for making us their charity of the year. We couldn’t believe it when we found out we had won the vote after I pitched to their panel of judges who work at the store in July, we were totally over the moon, it was totally unexpected.

“As a fundraising group we aim to help those charities we raise money for by organising events, initiatives and now with Sainsbury’s on board hopefully our mission status and our name will get even more recognised and supported by generating even more awareness as well as all important funds.”

Play2Give’s main events every year are football tournaments, and fundraising parties have also been held. Together with the store, the group is now drawing up a calendar of events and activities in conjunction for the store’s support with other ideas such as sponsored walks, Christmas gift wrapping sessions and in-store competitions planned.

Andy added: “Play2Give is unique in that we raise funds to give back to local charities that we have a real close connection with. For example, the money raised for Headway Oxfordshire will go towards funding their new activity & rehabilitation centre which is in the middle of a huge £200,000 fundraising campaign to redevelop its centre and expand their fast-growing services. Things like this make a real difference to those with brain injuries, and children in hospital through contributing towards top notch medical equipment that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, and will help edge us nearer to a £40,000 total to sponsor a patient room on the teenage ward. P2G is about raising funds to distribute funds to benefit so many.

“All the work we do is only possible through the generosity of supporters, and we are reliant on people and organisations like Sainsbury’s in Didcot doing fundraising events and making donations and taking part in those events we organise. so this partnership with the supermarket is going to be extremely valuable.”

The money the store raises through staff and customers including the football match on the 14th will support Play2Give’s fundraising for the Oxford Children’s Hospital, Headway Oxfordshire which supports hundreds of adults like Andrew living with brain injuries and the Paediatric Eye Fund based at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Notes to Editors: The press are welcome to come along and capture the football match in pictures.

The store is also welcoming pictures for its ‘official partnership launch’ with Play2Give to advertise the football match and the year-long support. To arrange photos/interviews, please contact Veronica Dallas at the store on 01235 814159/07904240177.