Sainsbury's in Bradford on Avon has adopted Trowbridge children’s charity Stepping Stones as its charity of the year.
The centre helps west Wiltshire children with learning difficulties and disabilities and has been at the centre of the Wiltshire Times’ Give us a Chance appeal, launched when it lost £10,000 of government funding.
Despite the appeal smashing its £10,000 target, the charity still needs to raise in excess of £40,000 a year through fundraising to cover its running costs.
Sarah Cottle, fundraising co-ordinator for the charity, is delighted at Sainsbury’s support.
She said: “It is absolutely fantastic. They get a lot of customers through the door that can help us.
“They have been really positive in what they want to do.
“It is nice to have support the whole way through and great to know so many of the staff want to help out.
“They want to be very hands on and be involved in everything. When it is a small charity like ours it is hard when you don’t have the huge number of people to call on. Parents aren’t always able to because they have children with special needs.”
Bridgette Humm, who has worked at Sainsbury’s in Bradford for five years, saw the benefits of the charity first hand when her six-year-old son Finnley attended from the age of two until four, after being referred because he had global developmental delay.
At Stepping Stones, Finnley, who now attends Larkrise School, saw a nutritionist, pediatrician, physiotherapist and occupational therapist, and while he was there he was diagnosed with autism.
Mrs Humm said: “We had a big chunk of support. They helped with every step and there was always someone we could talk to.
“It allowed us to meet other parents. We still have friends now through it. It is a fantastic thing to know we (Sainsbury’s) are giving something back to them.
“As a store we are quite keen to help with things; not just with raising funds but with the up-keep of the property.”
Richard Clarke, the store’s PR ambassador, said: “I think it is a good thing to give smaller charities some help and raise their profile.
“We want to work with them, get T-shirts done, collection pots, and work with them for events.
“It is an opportunity for us to drive it and we will invite them into the store on as many occasions as they can fulfil the invitation.”
To learn more about the charity, visit www.steppingstonestrowbridge.co.uk