Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Scotland are celebrating a windfall of £7.5m from last year's charity of the year partnership with Tesco, which set a new record for funds raised through the supermarket chain's scheme.
The funding will help support 100,000 more people living with dementia and their families through 25 new support workers, increase capacity at the National Dementia Helpline and fund two research fellowships into the causes, prevention and treatment of the debilitating illness. It will also help to fund the continuation of the first ever Dementia Community Roadshow raising awareness around Tesco stores in 154 towns for the next two years.
The funds raised represent a record for the organisation's partnership fundraising, beating the 2010/2011 record of £7.2m raised for Clic Sargent.
Responding to the news that £7.5m had been raised, 50 per cent more than the target of £5m, Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer's Society said: "We have been overwhelmed by the great response we've had from Tesco staff, showing their support for the cause by smashing the fundraising target so we really can make huge strides in the fight against dementia."
A spokeswoman for Tesco advised that the success was down to an "extremely popular and relevant cause" as well as innovation in fundraising. When asked, over half of the organisation's staff and customers reported to know someone living with dementia. This led to a drive throughout the businesses stores, distribution centre and offices to undertake a multitude of fundraising activities.
Tesco staff held 4,157 fundraising events from 1 March 2011 to 29 February 2012 with 550 staff undertaking extreme challenges, such as sky diving and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro. Tesco Distribution took part in a 'Distribution's Got Talent' event where customers were invited to vote for the best acts, raising £50,000 - and was Alzheimer's Society's most successful ever text fundraising campaign receiving 8,000 texts, the spokeswoman advised.
Tesco supports the charity sector in a number of ways, the charity partnership scheme being one of its facilitators for charitable giving which it runs across five markets: the UK, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and Poland. Tesco also has the Tesco Charity Trust which it launched in 1987 to support local and national charities, and it runs emergency appeals through its stores when funds are in immediate demand following crises.
Figures are not yet available for company's full year's giving in 2011/2012, but the previous year Tesco donated £64.3m to charities and good causes through donations both monetary and in-kind.
The success of the Alzheimer's charities' partnership with Tesco has prompted an even more ambitious aim of raising £10m for this year's charity of the year, named in January as Cancer Research UK. The supermarket has supported CRUK for a number of years through the Race for Life fundraising event.