Vodafone is handing out money to scores of worthy causes around the UK. Here we run through some of the first few winners, and find out how that cash can help...

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Since early last year we’ve been on a mission to reenergise the high street. We’ve been opening scores of new stores around the UK and redesigning hundreds of our existing ones to make it easier for customers to get the help and advice they need.

To celebrate, we also launched a new awards programme designed specifically to support and highlight worthy causes in the communities our stores serve.

Giving something back

At Vodafone, we believe that a sense of community is really important. Getting people involved in local activities and clubs is no easy task, but when it happens, it can really help make difference for the people who live nearby.

That’s part of the reason for our big investment in new stores; not everyone is comfortable popping online or picking up the phone, so if there’s a Vodafone store on your high street it can make life a lot easier.

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So what do local clubs and new Vodafone stores have in common? The Vodafone Community Connection Awards – our way of giving back to the communities that our hard working store staff call home.

Often in partnership with local newspapers, we’ve invited clubs, causes and groups in towns around the UK to apply to win an award by telling us how £1000 could really help. That £1000 could be for a new washing machine for the local football club, new crockery for food donation services, or anything in between – as long as it would go to benefit nearby members of the community, we wanted to know about it.

The money would only go to groups, clubs and organisations that had a real, positive impact in their area, and the lucky winners would collect their cheque in their nearest Vodafone store. So where has that money gone so far?

And the winners are…

So far, eight awards have been given out to community organisations up and down the UK, with a number of cheques already set to find good homes. Here are just a few of our chosen winners:

1. Hyndburn Used Furniture in Accrington (Vodafone Accrington)
This great local project collects and supplies household appliances and items of furniture for minimal cost, and distributes them to those considered most in need. That could be families in supported and sheltered housing, people with disabilities, or families facing severe hardship and deprivation. “It’s absolutely fantastic,” said manager Lisa Allen, “and it means our volunteers can stay warm and dry. They spend all day collecting bulky items – so it’s greatly appreciated. We support lots of people in need and our volunteers come from everywhere.”

“We are very grateful to Vodafone for the generous donation… It will go to continue our support to families…”

2. Homestart in Broadstairs (Vodafone Broadstairs)
Homestart connects volunteers with families with at least one child who going through times of stress. It helps these families make it through without heading to breaking point. “We are very grateful to Vodafone for the generous donation,” said Executive Manager Sharon Tait. “Like all our income, it will go to continue our support to families throughout Thanet and Broadstairs.”

3. Lakeland Special Olympics Club (Vodafone Enniskillen)
Having gained over 50 members since its inception in 2006, the Lakeland Special Olympics Club in Fermanagh helps people with disabilities take part in sporting activities and stay active. “When participation is seen to be the key function,” the group says on its website, “then winning and losing will be kept in perspective.” The money they received was used on new kit for the athletes, says volunteer Fiona Keenan: “A kit is an essential requirement in providing safe training and competition experience,” she explains, “while also giving our club identity and recognizing dedication of our athletes.”

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4. Llansamlet Day Centre (Vodafone Neath)
This day centre near our new store in Neath helps provide elderly people with hot meals and good company. Carol Griffiths, the centre’s chairwoman, told us and her local newspaper, the South Wales Evening Post, that the prize money would go towards much needed saucepans and plates, as well as for a couple of day trips. “We need new plates, cutlery, and kitchen utensils,” she says. “I would also love to take them out on a day trip – even though we may need two small buses. This money will really make a different to our lunch club.”

5. Brixington Lunch Club (Vodafone Exmouth)
The Exmouth Journal chose the Brixington Brunch Club, which runs out of the Brixington Community Church. It gives local elderly people a place to go in the day and a chance to socialise. Reverend Simon Atkinson said of the prize: “We were in need of replacing an old fridge, which now doesn’t comply with the current regulations, and a water boiler to help us serve teas and coffees.”

Each winning group scooped a Community Connection Award, £1000 to spend on their project or product of choice, and a free tech assessment by our Vodafone store staff to help fine tune their operation.

Did your local club win? Let us know below!

More on our new stores: Click here to read all about our investment in the high street, our new Vodafone stores, and why it’s never been easier to get in touch with us.