Shoppers at SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO branded stores across Northern Ireland have set a new record for the retailer’s seasonal Tearfund campaign, with the 2021 appeal raising over £500,000.

In total, £517,605 was raised thanks to shopper donations which were matched by SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO, and is already helping families prepare for when disaster strikes, like Sumi Begum and her family who live in the Bay of Bengal.

Sumi lives with her husband and two young sons in a village in Bangladesh, where their small, wood-frame house sat on a low-lying mudflat alongside the powerful Andharmanik River. Their family home has been regularly flooded by heavy rain and tidal swells caused by increasing cyclonic activity in the Bay, which has caused significant trauma to the young family for fear their house would be swept away, as Sumi watched the plinth their house was built on get gradually washed away.

Now, alongside Tearfund’s partner in Bangladesh, the family have had a new protective foundation built from reinforced concrete, which has helped save the family’s lives and livelihoods.

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing says you cannot put a value on the positive impact those funds raised have on families like Sumi’s; “We are so grateful to our generous shoppers and motivated retailers who put so much into the Tearfund appeal at the end of 2021. This is a new record of fundraising for our annual Tearfund appeal, which enables the charity to channel funds into those in most need through their partners who are helping build better lives around the world.

“Hearing Sumi’s story and how our donations have helped her sleep at night thanks to the reinforced foundation her house now sits on, should hit home with all of us and shows us just how important it is to continue to help our neighbours around the world.”

The money was raised during the ‘A Gift for your Neighbour’ campaign which ran throughout November and December, in a response to help push vital funds towards the communities living in poverty around the world and feeling the acute effects of Covid, conflict and climate change.

Glen Mitchell, NI Director at Tearfund added; “We are thrilled by the record-breaking generosity shown by shoppers and retailers at SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO to the ‘A Gift for your Neighbour’ appeal. We are incredibly grateful for our ongoing partnership with SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO. It enables Tearfund and our partners to continue to bring life-saving solutions to people living in poverty around the world, helping families like Sumi’s to be safe and ready for when disaster strikes.”