Thousands of members of the public have had their say on the recipients of a local retailer’s first ever Community Cashback Grant, launched to help charities and community groups to continue their good work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tiny Life NI, Mae Murray Foundation, Belfast Homeless Services and Flourish NI were the four organisations which all received a share of the first £5,000 donation from Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVO brands in Northern Ireland.

The Group’s £20,000 Community Cashback Grant was launched last week and received applications from hundreds of deserving initiatives and charities, which went towards a public vote.

Over 5,000 votes were cast for Tiny Life NI to receive £2,000 and Mae Murray Foundation, Belfast Homeless Services and Flourish NI receiving £1,500, £1,000 and £500 respectively.

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group said each recipient has made an enormous contribution to their communities, especially since the start of the pandemic; “We’re passionate about supporting local community groups, charities and initiatives at Henderson Group, and the global pandemic has made the work they do even more important yet brought more challenges.

“Tiny Life NI received the most votes from the public. The organisation has been struggling to provide their breast pump loan service, which is vital towards enabling mums with premature babies to feed with their breast milk, so essential funding is required to increase their pump kits capacity to meet the demand. £2,000 will secure an extra 100 pump kits for service users.”

The Mae Murray Foundation, which provides experiences that aim to improve the quality of life for individuals and families living with disability, medical conditions or sensory disorders, has moved their outreach online and need funding to cover volunteer expenses and adaptations of their equipment and services.

Belfast Homeless Services has experienced a huge surge in demand for its drop-in centre providing food, clothing, toiletries and advice to the homeless and vulnerable. Their grant will be used to meet this demand so that no family or individual goes without during the pandemic.

Finally, Flourish NI has a mission to ensure every survivor of human trafficking has access to long-term support services, with face to face contact an important element of these services. Due to the implications of COVID-19, many of these essential services are simply no longer available. The funds donated by Henderson Group will help provide mobile phones, tablets and mobile top up data packs to keep communication going digitally.

Bronagh finished; “these grants will help those people most in need in our local communities right now, and we look forward to rewarding even more as our Community Cashback Grants are donated to 12 more community groups and charities over the coming weeks.”

Organisations can apply via the Henderson Group website, and finalists will be announced each Thursday via SPAR and EUROSPAR NI’s social media channels, with voting closing midnight on Sundays. Each Grant winner will be announced the following Monday.

To find out more, visit SPAR and EUROSPAR NI’s new Life at Home platform, which is packed full of community news, recipes, activities for kids at home, mindfulness practice and tips and blogs for hacks around the house.