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  • Samantha Steadman

Community Spirit This Holiday Season

Updated: Apr 5

We’re well into the heart-warming embrace of the holiday season and this year, businesses across the retail sector are going above commerce transactions and introducing charitable initiatives, prize draws to help with holiday costs and contributions to the communities around them. In this blog we will explore how retailers are going beyond profits this Christmas to spread joy and offer support to those in need, making the festive season brighter for all. Welcome to the season of giving!

Aldi Partners With Age Scotland [1]

This November, Aldi stores across Scotland partnered with Age Scotland to provide support and reach out to older communities who may experience loneliness and isolation this Winter.

Their ‘Festive Friends’ campaign encouraged shoppers with young children to share their favourite poem or joke on a Festive Friends postcard and submit through post boxes available in stores from 7th November – 19th November. These postcards were then distributed to 90 of Age Scotland’s community groups hosting Christmas get-togethers through late November & December. These events are likely one of the biggest, if not the only, social event many older people will attend this Winter and with Age Scotland’s Big Survey showing that 66% of older people don’t feel valued for their contribution to society, receiving these little gestures of recognition and kindness can make the world of difference.

Stacey Kitzinger, Head of Fundraising and Marketing at Age Scotland said, “We’re delighted to team up with Aldi to help spread some festive cheer this winter and make a difference to the lives of older people in communities across Scotland. While many of us are looking forward to spending the festive season with family and friends, it is heartbreaking to think that the equivalent of one older person in every street in Scotland feels lonely all or most of the time. Money is tight for many, but reaching out doesn’t have to cost anything and knowing someone is thinking of them could be the best gift an older person feeling lonely receives this winter.”

Along with the postcards, Aldi are also donating £1000 directly to Age Scotland to support 200 calls on its Friendship Line – a free telephone service which older people can call to have a friendly chat to combat feelings of disconnect and loneliness. Shoppers can also donate directly to the charity by scanning QR codes available in store.

John Lewis & Waitrose Giving Trees [2]

Festive favourite Giving Trees are back in all Waitrose and John Lewis stores across the country this festive season. Shoppers can pick a gift tag from the tree, ranging from £2 to £25, and scan at the checkout to directly donate to John Lewis Partnership’s Building Happier Futures programme. The programme has an ongoing commitment to providing young people who have grown up in the UK’s care system a brighter future and supporting them through crucial life moments, with the donations being split between the Building Happier Futures’ charity partners – Action for Children, Who Cares? Scotland and Home-Start UK.

With the initiative raising £600,000 last year, Lindsey Crompton, Sustainability and Ethics Lead at the Partnership said, ““Our ambition to build happier futures for Care Experienced people is at the very heart of our purpose. We’re so grateful that our thoughtful customers care as greatly about this as we do, helping to generate vital funds this Christmas to support young people’s lives for the better.”

Co Op Cash Boost for Communities [3]

Focusing on the timeless gift of community spirit this holiday season, Co-Op is calling for donations from its members and customers with promises of pledges to match whatever is donated. From 22nd November, customers will have the ability to donate amounts via their reward balance in the app or directly in store via till points.

Co-Op has over 4.5 million active members, many of which have unused personal rewards in their membership wallet with an average balance of £5 per customer. With members choosing to donate these balances and cash donations in store, the impact of this collective will hugely benefit community causes across the UK with the donations being paid out to causes in early 2024.

This kind of initiative is no new concept to Co-Operative. Any business profits are invested back into the business and the remainder, together with donations from their members, provide financial support to thousands of local community causes all year round, amounting to over £100 million in the last few years. These donations go towards taking direct care of the communities we all live in, from providing hot meals to those in need to buying sport supplies for local kids sports teams.

Tesco Prize Draws [4]

From 27th November – 17th December, customers at Tesco can upload their receipt from instore or online shopping to the Win Your Christmas Shop website for a chance to do just that. With £1 million worth of gift cards to give away, 2000 shoppers will win £500 each, provided in 2 x £250 Tesco Gift Cards. This means winners can gift the second card to a family member, friend or charity should they wish to extend the spirit of giving.

This offer is exclusive to Clubcard members as a thankyou gift to its loyal customers throughout the year and has the potential to make a huge difference to families this Christmastime with the pressure of buying celebrations and gifts causing financial strain to so many during the cost of living crisis.

These stories are just a few threads in the tapestry of Christmas compassion this holiday season – from local businesses making a difference in their neighbourhoods to big brands introducing opportunities and initiatives to give back, the role of retail in community and charitable causes is evident. Beyond the glittering displays and festive sales, the retail sector is a powerful force for positive change this holiday season, infusing a touch of humanity into everyday transactions. May these heartwarming tales of festive goodwill inspire us all to extend our thoughts to how we can help others in need this Christmas time.


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