By Sas Taylor

Contractors fitting out the new Sainsbury’s store at Longbridge joined newly hired store colleagues in helping spruce up facilities at South Birmingham Young Homeless Project (SBYHP). And they also helped local organisation Autism Birmingham prepare it’s charity store in the new town centre for business.

The Sainsbury's team at SBYHP
The Sainsbury’s team at SBYHP

Based at the Depot in Longbridge, SBYHP is a small charity that helps young, vulnerable, homeless people in South Birmingham by offering advice and referring people to emergency and long-term accommodation. The Sainsbury’s team decorated fences, security grids and gates, installed new security lights, fitted new signs and provided new furniture in the chill out room.

The improvement works follow recent fundraising activity carried out by colleagues at the upcoming Longbridge store and the existing store in Northfield, which resulted in a £250 food donation to LifeLine Foodbank and another £250 donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Paul Mason, Chair of the Trustees of SBYHP said: “Everyone here would like to thank Sainsbury’s and their team for their time, effort and the invaluable help they have provided for the project. The work on the outside of the building and new signs will brighten the whole building up and be welcoming to the young people who use our facilities.”

Paul added: “Working with our local councillor Andy Cartwright and the team from Sainsbury’s has been a great experience for everyone and for the young people who use our services. It will make a real difference to their future prospects.”

Andy White, Longbridge store manager said: “We are delighted that during the opening of our new Longbridge store we have had the opportunity to support some really great local community charities and projects. They do fantastic work with all members of our community at the South Birmingham Young Homeless People project and we are glad we could play a small part in creating a better environment for everyone involved”.

A Sainsbury's team with Lisa Mace from Autism Birmingham
A Sainsbury’s team with Lisa Mace from Autism Birmingham

With the new Sainsbury’s store opening at 9am on Wednesday 28th August, staff have also been working hard to help another local tenant get ready for their big opening day on Wednesday. Autism Birmingham is a local charity, established by parents of two autistic boys, which helps provides sensory and other equipment for local families affected by autism. They already have a charity store in Stirchley and are set to open their Longbridge store on Wednesday. The Sainsbury’s team helped to decorate and prepare the store for opening.

Spokesperson for Autism Birmingham Lisa Mace said: “Sainsbury’s have supported us a great deal and we have been training their staff in Autism Awareness. All the staff that have so far been trained will be wearing one of our AUTISM AWARE badges – we hope this will encourage families with children, or indeed adults, with autism to use Sainsbury’s Longbridge knowing that eventually all 350 staff will be autism aware trained. Which is indeed something they can be proud of.”

Lisa also thanked Hilton Worldwide’s legal team for doing all their legal work on a “pro bono” basis. She said: “They have been working on this since March 2013 and have been absolutely wonderful, kept us updated every day.”

Tom Kirby, Sainsbury’s Project Manager said: “We’ve made lots of connections in Longbridge since we started to fit out the upcoming store, so were keen to get involved in fundraising activities as well as help out with improvement works for local organisations.

“We hope that the people who use SBYHP’s facilities like the work we’ve done. We’re very excited about coming to Longbridge and look forward to continuing to support more organisations when our store opens.”

Cllr Cartwright said: “We have been working hard building relationships in the Community between Longbridge Sainsbury’s and local community groups including South Birmingham Homeless Project. Whilst emphasising the need and securing local people local jobs which has been Longbridge Ward Cllrs and Richard Burden MP’s  priority for all age groups. I am thrilled with the employment opportunities that have been given to constituents that live in our Ward.”

Sainsbury’s Longbridge and the Autism Birmingham shop both open at 9am on Wednesday 28th August

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