A Decade Of Dedication: Asda Dundonald Hosts 24-hour Charity Sit-Out

Asda Dundonald Community Champion, Sharon McBratney hosted the store’s annual 24-hour Charity sit-out on 5th-6th April, to raise funds for local charity Helping Hands.

For ten years, Sharon McBratney, has lent a helping hand to the charity by organising the 24-hour sit out with her Asda Dundonald colleagues. The initiative takes place outside the store every year during April, which is Autism Awareness Month.

Helping Hands is a parent-led charity managed by a team of volunteers operating a resource centre, where its services support the difficulties that autistic children and young people struggle with, through sensory zones, interactive features, counselling suites, life skills facilities and an outdoor play area.

In the past decade, Asda Dundonald has raised £2,000 on average each year for Helping Hands, and this year will mark the 10th year of the 24-hour sit-out in the retailer’s carpark.

This year the charity hopes to raise £10,000 to fund a new outdoor play area for its centre in Dundonald, as well as continuing to raise greater awareness of autism within the local community.

From 6pm on Friday 5th April until 6pm the following day, Sharon will be accompanied by volunteers from Helping Hands to sit outside the Asda store, in a bid to raise as much money and awareness as possible to support autistic children in the local area.

Sharon said: “Ten years ago, in 2014, Caroline from Helping Hands reached out and we had this crazy idea to fundraise with a 24-hour sit-out at Asda, and here we are in 2024 still doing it! We’re well prepared to stay outside all night long, we wrap up in hats, coats and sleeping bags!

“When we first started this campaign, I think we raised about £1,200 – and it goes up every year. Last year we raised over £2,400, so we’re incredibly grateful to the local community for being so generous with their donations. It’s such an important cause and this shows just how important the local families are to us.

“We’re hoping to smash our fundraising targets once again this year to help the charity reach their £10,000 target. All the money raised will go to a much-needed upgrade of the Helping Hands outdoor area, which is an incredible facility for the children at the resource centre.”

Caroline Birch, Founding Member of Helping Hands added: “We’re so grateful to Sharon and Asda Dundonald for letting us do this every year, it’s a huge help. This fundraising activity gives our charity the chance to raise awareness and acceptance of autism during Autism Awareness Month.

“We love spending time speaking to the community and helping other parents who are facing challenging times, and also raising much needed funds for our charity, to continue supporting our local children and young people.”

To donate to Helping Hands, visit Asda Dundonald between the 5-6th April, or donate online at https://link.justgiving.com/v1/charity/donate/charityId/250154

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