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Cumbrian charity among the first to benefit from Tesco’s £500 COVID-19 Community Fund

CADAS Support group

A Cumbrian addiction charity has become one of the first in the area to benefit from a £500 Tesco grant, part of the retailer’s £52 million package of support for local communities hit by the lockdown.

Tesco’s CEO Dave Lewis recently outlined the retailer’s plans to provide nationwide support for local groups, including £25million in food donations and a Bags of Help COVID-19 Community Fund, to support as many groups as possible with grants of £500.

Making full use of the grant, Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS), has put the extra funding towards the launch of a new helpline to support anyone in recovery who is worried about relapse or those developing unhealthy habits as a result of lockdown.

The charity, which supports people affected by substance abuse, has called the extra funding a “lockdown lifeline”.

Leigh Williams, the charity’s CEO, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Tesco for the grant which has been a lockdown lifeline. We encourage people to make the most of our hotline and come to us for any advice they might need if they’re struggling to cope.

“We know that many people are coping with the effects of lockdown, restricted movement, bereavement, loneliness, boredom, redundancy and financial concern, by drinking more than they usually would – or by gambling or spending more time online.

“For some, it won’t be a habit that they can easily break once things return to ‘normal’, which is why we’ve used Tesco’s funding to ensure people across the region can call our freephone hotline if they’re worried about themselves or others when it comes to addictive behaviour.

“A key pillar of our work sees us meet thousands of people per year via awareness raising and educational workshops in schools, communities and the workplace, but this has simply been put on hold.

“The hotline gives an opportunity for people all over Cumbria to have someone to speak to if they’re worried about addiction, recovery or relapse, and also a whole new raft of people who may be developing unhealthy habits as a result of Covid-19.”

David Ford, Local Communications Manager for the North, said: “We’re doing everything we can to provide support for all at this difficult time and hopefully the £500 Bags of Help grant will go some way to help those groups still committed to helping others during this uncertain time.”

Any local groups that would benefit from this funding are encouraged to apply here. The process is managed through partner charity Groundwork’s website www.tescobagsofhelp.org.uk

Through distribution partners, FareShare and Groundwork, local groups across the country are dedicated to ensuring that the most vulnerable within our communities are supplied with essentials even if they cannot leave home.

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