Asda staff are organising food, drink and presents for people in Cumbria whose Christmas Day has been affected by the recent floods caused by Storm Desmond.
Staff at local stores delivered emergency supplies after the storm hit and have been helping with the clean-up operation, while Asda has donated bedding and cleaning equipment including mops and buckets.
Pictured is Niki Iveson, the Community Life Champion at Asda’s Carlisle store, who has been working with volunteers to help people who have been affected. After delivering drinks and gifts supplied by the supermarket chain, she lent a hand at the Swallow Hilltop Hotel in Carlisle, which has become a distribution centre for the Big Cumbrian Christmas Day Get Together.
This is a communal Christmas Day, with food, gifts and entertainment, organised for flood-affected Cumbrians by volunteer Richard Francis, who is the head chef at The Fox and The Pheasant in the Cumbrian village of Armathwaite. He wanted to give a Christmas dinner to those affected by the floods, so they could still enjoy the holiday. Niki has been working with Richard since he came up with the idea.
Richard said: “I just suggested that it would be a nice idea for people to get together somewhere on Christmas Day. I never expected this would happen! I’ve been overwhelmed by the response. The people we’ve got in touch with so far have been so humbled; a lot have been in floods of tears. Asda has been amazing and Niki in particular has been fantastic. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Local hotels, pubs, restaurants and other organisations will be hosting the event free of charge at eight different venues in Carlisle, Kendal, Cockermouth, Penrith and Ulvertson. The food, drink and gifts have all been donated by local businesses.
Volunteers have been working round the clock to get everything ready in time for the big day. They have also been packing hampers of food for anyone who can’t make it.The event is open to “anyone affected by the floods, people in need, or someone that may just be spending Christmas time on their own this year”.
Niki Iveson, the Community Life Champion at Asda’s Carlisle store, with some of the gifts donated by the supermarket chain