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Tesco raises £10 million for National Charity Partnership between Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation

Hundreds of thousands of Tesco colleagues across the UK have helped to raise £10 million for a major charity initiative in just 16 months. The money will go to the National Charity Partnership, a three-year collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco to raise awareness of, and help prevent, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Jenna Hall, Programme Director for the National Charity Partnership, praised the dedication of staff: “The commitment shown by Tesco colleagues nationwide to involve their customers and fundraise for this cause is truly inspiring. Thanks to their support, we have already begun investing money into joint prevention projects across the UK which are helping millions of people to improve their health.” 

Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease are two of the nation’s biggest health problems, with around 3.6 million people in the UK currently living with Type 2 diabetes and an estimated 7 million people living with heart and circulatory disease. 

Around 300,000 UK Tesco colleagues are raising money for the National Charity Partnership to tackle these health issues. In the last 16 months, highlights have included: six flagship fundraisers at stores, each raising between £400,000 and £600,000; and the two bucket collections in February and June last year, led by around 4,000 Diabetes UK and BHF volunteers, which raised £378,000. The 20,000 colleagues at Tesco’s seven offices and 26 Distribution Centres also raised just over £550,000. 

Tesco is committed to raising a total of £30 million for the Partnership, which formed in January 2015. Half the money raised will fund a joint project aimed at helping millions of people to improve their health, and the remainder will be split equally between both charities.  

Jenna Hall explains what makes the Partnership unique: “Diabetes UK and the BHF have a history of promoting prevention programmes, and the National Charity Partnership is focusing on helping people to understand how they can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease. Having Type 2 diabetes can double a person’s risk of developing heart and circulatory disease along with other complications, but a healthy lifestyle can play an important part in preventing or delaying these conditions. 

“We know from Tesco data that young families often have the unhealthiest shopping baskets and so last year we worked with mums aged 20-45 years to identify what they need in order to help them change their health for the better. 

“We have created a two-year prevention programme and behaviour change campaign that we are confident, along with the reach and influence of Tesco, will provide these women and their families with the information, support and skills they need to adopt and sustain improved lifestyle choices. We are also working with Tesco to explore a range of other activities that could improve the health of their customers and colleagues.”

In 2016 and 2017, the Partnership will work to help millions of people to eat better and be more active to help reduce their risk of these devastating, yet largely preventable conditions. January this year marked the launch of the Let’s Do This campaign, website and goal setter, aimed at encouraging people to set their own health goals by providing access to motivational tips and healthy recipes. 

The Partnership’s prevention projects also began in 15 areas across all four UK nations, identified as having a high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, high mortality rates from heart disease, high levels of obesity and low levels of physical activity. Free, fun events will be delivered in nine areas in the UK that, alongside signposting to use the Let’s Do This website and goal setter, will inspire 500,000 people to eat better and be more active. The community walking programme ‘Beat the Street’ and school holidays food workshops will be accessible in the remaining six areas, designed to provide support for 200,000 individuals to move more and eat a healthier diet.  

Money donated to the BHF from the National Charity Partnership will be invested in various initiatives, including Professor Mark Hanson’s research, which focuses on how the environment in which we develop in our mother’s womb influences our health risk in later life, including developing heart and circulatory disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Amongst other things, Diabetes UK will continue funding for its Helpline – a dedicated service for all people with diabetes, their friends, family, carers and healthcare professionals – and pay for information packs for parents of children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, to improve support in school for their children.