John Lewis launches new charity scheme

John Lewis Kingston has launched a charity scheme that aims to provide help for local community organisations.

Customers of the department store are provided with tokens which they must place inside one of three boxes. Each box represents a local charity and allows customers to choose how the donations will be spread between the three. The charities will then receive a share of £3,000 from the retailer. 

The scheme is part of the Community Matters programme which has been in place since 2008. It has been used in Waitrose where it was recently expanded in order to include their online customers. 

Lene Wood, Community Liaison Coordinator for John Lewis Kingston, said: “As a whole John Lewis has always had in their constitution that wherever we trade we have to give something back to the community.”

The three community organisations to be placed within this scheme are Age Concern Raleigh House, Arts4Dementia and Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness. 

According to their needs, these charities will receive support from John Lewis in the form of either human or material resources or straightforward financial aid. To choose which three organisations will benefit the most from the scheme customers are provided with a token and encouraged to vote for their personal favourite charity. 

Jenny Tomley, managing director of John Lewis Kingston, said: “We receive a lot of requests for help, but not every organisation needs financial support. If a charity wants volunteers to redecorate a community centre, or if they need a new television or to furnish a room in a community centre, we can offer that help.”

All John Lewis stores across the UK will be starting their own Community Matters programme from May of this year.

Another recent development in the John Lewis Community Matters scheme is their Community Room. 

It can be used by groups in the Kingston community who need somewhere to have a meeting, prepare charity work or, like the ladies at the All Saints Church Embroidery group, work on their pieces in a well lit and warm place. 

Sue Brown from the Church embroidery club said: “It will be a big help for us because in the church there isn’t enough light and it is too cold to work. Here we have really good facilities.”

Ms Tomley explained that the community will be able to take advantage of the room whenever it is not being used by the staff at the department store 

For the correct room set up to be provided, prior notice should be given to John Lewis. 

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