Friends celebrate decade of helping people in South Shields and Boldon through Asda's 'community champions' scheme

Two friends are celebrating a decade of helping others after becoming ‘community champions’.

Monday, 9th May 2022, 2:54 pm

Tracey Tough and Mavis Maughan signed up to their roles at Asda’s Boldon and South Shields stores when the supermarket chain launched the scheme 10 years ago – and they say they have loved every minute.

The pair work closely together on numerous projects and fundraisers in the area around their two stores, and say they are proud of the help offered to local charities, schools and groups.

Tracey, who has worked at Asda Boldon for more than 33 years, said: "The community programme has made a massive difference to a lot of groups over the years.

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Tracey and Mavis are looking back on ten years of helping others.

"It's not just about giving money and donations, it's about giving time, going along to help and being a face for Asda. We are letting groups know that Asda is willing to help.

She added: "I'm so proud of what I do. The community role has made me a better person and in tune with my local community and the needs of the area. I wanted a change and to make a difference; I now look back and I know I have achieved that even if it is at a small level.”

Tracey said the community champion scheme meant she and Asda could be a ‘lifeline’ to families and groups in the community.

“The help we have given them helps them to carry on,” she said.

Mavis (right) and Tracey (left) are looking back on a decade of helping others.

"I support a school by giving them cooking ingredients for children whose families cannot afford to buy them.

"Because of that those kids get to cook like everyone else. I know it's only a little thing, but to them kids it's huge.

"The groups we help and there are many know Asda is there to support them."

Tracey says she loves working alongside her good friend Mavis.

Mavis and Tracey handing over funding to homelessness charity Emmaus.

The annual Christmas party for older people at the Charles Young Centre in Talbot Road, South Shields, is a highlight for the pair – with the Asda Foundation funding the festivities.

"We've been doing it for at least eight years now,” said Tracey.

"When we started there were only a few people attending, but now it's an annual event for about 130 people who otherwise would be left alone with no celebration.

"We provide a three-course Christmas dinner, entertainment and a visit from Santa too.

Mavis and Tracey handing over funding to Arts for Wellbeing.

"Some of the elderly residents look forward to this event all year. I'm so proud of its success and the difference this makes. It's become quite an event with local police cadets and volunteers getting involved too."

Tracey is also particularly proud of her relationship with self-sufficient group Green Hope Oasis, which runs allotments and helps young people and those with social problems.

"It feeds children and supporting families in the holidays It has built a classroom, a play area and workshops,” she said.

"It's the heart of the community and has become a beacon for a lot of people. Last year it won the Queen's Award and The Countess of Wessex came along to present it and to have a look at what the group do and the difference they make.

"To see something grow and know we have been part of the success story makes me so proud."

Pressures on food banks have seldom been far from the headlines in recent times, and the community champions say their worked has helped centres such as Hospitality and Hope provide support for households in need.

Mavis and Tracey at the annual Christmas festivities.

"I've worked with them from the very beginning; they were just a little group working out of one tiny room,” said Tracey.

"Now I work with a least five food banks in the area. To me that is one of the biggest changes, seeing how many people now need that sort of help."

The Asda worker said the success of the community programme is down to the support of her colleagues and managers.

She said: "I am really lucky. Boldon is a big store, but we were a pit village and it still has that community family spirit today. We are proud of our roots. I believe in what I do and the difference we make."

Mavis has been at Asda South Shields store for more than 20 years and said she loves her role helping the community.

"Over the years I have many memories working with all different kinds of people,” said Mavis.

"I've met royalty, celebrities, mayors and special people who run and help charities in all kinds of ways. But the one thing that sticks with me is when the community colleagues in my region got together and made a record for our breast cancer campaign.

"We were invited down to Asda House in Leeds to sing it on stage – we were the warm up band for McFly before they were famous!"

Mavis said over the years she has seen a lot more charities needing the support of Asda and the Asda Foundation.

"The groups that I work with really appreciate the help that we give and the support that I give just by going along to lend a hand,” she said.

"I have worked with all different groups and built up a fantastic relationship and made good friends. I will still be a friend when I retire from Asda but as long as I can do the job I will be here meeting my community.

"The support I get from all my colleagues and managers is great and my hope is that we can go keep going forward to support charities and good causes and many more people out there that need help in all different ways."

Laygate Community School pupils held pancake races with the help of Mavis Maughan and Tracey Tough from Asda in 2014.
Asda elves Mavis Maughan and Tracey Tough put the finishing touches to the Boldon stores Santa's Grotto in 2012.
Pudsey Bear on board the Shields Ferry for Children In Need in 2010. Joining him were from left Bob Patterson (crew), Asda's Tracey Tough , Mavis Maughan and Ray Millward (crew).
Mavis Maughan and Tracey Tough from Asda were recycling Christmas cards in this scene from South Shields.