Hafal Ammanford calls out for votes to bag a share of bag fund

Hafal’s Mental Health Resource Centre in Ammanford is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores – being awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Hafal’s Mental Health Resource Centre is one of the groups on the shortlist at Tesco Ammanford during September and October 2017.

Hafal Ammanford provides services to individuals and families affected  by serious mental illness. They hope to set up a gardening project to teach clients the importance of healthy eating and regular physical exercise, and to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

With the bag fund, Hafal Ammanford would like to develop a sensory garden which includes elements of colour, touch/feel, smell and sound (via a water feature).

Additionally they would like to use the money to send 12 service users on a two-day retreat to a youth hostel to receive horticultural and educational training to help improve their independent living skills.

People with a serious mental illness and their carers face many inequalities when it comes to their physical health. For example, people with a serious mental illness have a life expectancy of between 15 to 20 years lower than the general population.

The garden project will have many benefits for Hafal’s clients: physical exercise can help clients cope with physically challenging circumstances and counter the side-effects of medication while also improving alertness, cognitive abilities and social skills.

Gardening and horticulture can also help to improve individual’s self-esteem, promote independence, and help clients integrate back into their local community. Sensory elements help combat stress and anxiety and the garden will provide a calming environment that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Barbara Cook, Practice Leader at Hafal Ammanford, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for the Tesco bag fund award.

“The garden project would give our clients key opportunities to improve their mental and physical health and to gain some key life skills. We really hope that the people of Ammanford are as enthused about our project as we are, and that they give us their vote!”

Voting is open in all Tesco stores throughout September and October. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £33 million to more than 6,400 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for September and October. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:

“We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp

Matt Pearce