John Lewis at home Ashford today outlined the three community groups it will support as part of its charitable giving scheme, Community Matters. Every three months, Community Matters enables John Lewis Ashford to split £3,000 between three local organisations that support important local causes.

Launching on the shop’s opening day, Thursday 7th November, the first three local organisations chosen are:

  • Demelza Hospice Care for Children – a charity which provides respite and end of life care and bereavement services to young people.
  • Young Kent – an organisation which offers support to a wide range of youth groups across Kent.
  • Action on Hearing Loss – a charity which cares for people with hearing loss and tinnitus.

The Community Matters scheme gives customers a token which they can use to vote for the charity they would like to support. The share of the £3,000 available to the three good causes will be proportionate to the customer votes, meaning an organisation with 31% of the vote would receive a £930 donation.

Glynis Gunning-Stevenson, Branch Manager at John Lewis at home Ashford said: “We are so pleased to be able to support these three causes and the extraordinary contribution they make to people and families in Ashford. Many people are affected by these issues, so it is great for us to be able to support charities which can touch the lives of people in Kent. My Partners and I are all very much looking forward to becoming part of the local community and helping to make a difference as a business.”

The Community Matters scheme is part of John Lewis’s ongoing commitment to supporting the communities in which it trades. It will offer a vast range of support for people living in Ashford:

Demelza Hospice Care for Children is a charity providing a large range of hospice and care services to children, young people and their families in Kent. Life-Limited or life threatened children, young people and their families benefit from facilities that include a Multi-Sensory room, Soft Play, a Hydrotherapy Pool and The Inclusion Zone (TIZ) for young people. The charity’s Care Team is led by Children’s Palliative Care Nurses and consists of Children’s Palliative Care Assistants, Family Support Workers and other Ancillary Support Staff.

Young Kent is a charity which offers essential support services to youth organisations of all sizes (small local, or part of a national body) in Kent and Medway. Its staff team engage with its members, as well as young people though its face-to-face, bespoke programmes. The charity recognises the achievements of youth organisations and young people in the local area and takes pride in celebrating their successes.

Action on Hearing Loss is a charity which offers support to enable deaf and hard of hearing people to live as independently as possible within their local community. The charity provides expert advice and care to people with hearing loss and tinnitus, campaigns to change public policy around hearing loss issues, and supports research into cures for the problem.

Keith Lee, corporate partnerships executive at Demelza Hospice care for children said:“We are delighted to have been chosen by John Lewis as one of the charities supported by the new store in Ashford. We offer high quality care to young people across East Kent and rely on the generosity of the local community to continue to reach out to even more families who need us. We are looking forward to working with John Lewis on fundraising initiatives and raising awareness of the work Demelza does 7 days a week 365 days a year across the area.”

Lee Vallins, deputy chief executive at Young Kent: “We are really pleased to be one of the charities chosen this year by John Lewis. The money raised will support us in the delivery of our work with youth groups across Kent. This includes training, information and support to many voluntary led youth groups from dance and drama to sport and local village groups also. With recent cuts to funding across the youth sector, and more to come still, we strive to support each club achieve a level of sustainability to continue regardless, and to do so in a safe and supportive environment for the young people that are part of each group.”

Laura Kennedy, senior regional fundraising executive at action hearing loss: “We are delighted to be supported by John Lewis. Hearing loss affects 10 million people in the UK and it’s a growing problem. Donations received through the partnership with John Lewis’ Ashford store will help us search for a cure for hearing loss as well as providing practical advice and emotional support to the millions of people who are living with this devastating condition every day of their lives.”

These community groups will be supported for three months and in February, another three will be nominated. Details on how charities and organisations can nominate themselves for the next period of support will be made available soon.


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