OPINION: Show your community that you’re there for them – Sunita Aggarwal, Spar Hackenthorpe, Sheffield

'As retailers, we play a big role in our communities and we should be recognised for the things we do'

I’ve just recently finished hosting a charity golf day fundraiser in honour of my late husband, Raj, where we raised more than £30,000 for two local hospital charities – Leicester Children’s Hospital and Sheffield Sanctuary Garden.

It started off a couple of years ago when Raj passed away. I wanted retailers to be recognised as key workers and, as my husband had been donating drinks to the local hospitals, we started a project in his name. We asked retailers and suppliers for their support and, so far, we have managed to raise just under £107,000 for two hospitals.

None of what we have done with Do As Raj Would Do would have been possible without the support of friends, family and the retailer community.

The charity golf day is something we started last year, and it’s an opportunity for people to get together to socialise and network, but it’s also a day to recognise Raj and all of the good deeds he did. We also hold a wine tasting with Concha y Toro, and a spa day for the non-golfers.

We get a lot of retailers involved, around 80 during the day and about 200 people at the evening event. Last year, it was held at The Belfry Hotel and Resort in Sutton Coldfield, and this year it was at The Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club in Birmingham.

It was very easy to set things up with the hospital and we’ve been giving back to our community, schools and clubs for a long time. Raj also used to do things with the local police and fire brigade. It’s all about showing the community that we’re there for them.

I think there are lots of retailers who are doing similar things to this already and almost see it as part of their everyday job, but because they don’t shout about it, I think we’ve been undervalued. The retailers don’t want to seem like they’re preaching about it, but it would be so much better for the communities to know more about what we do. As retailers, we play a big role in our communities and we should be recognised for the things we do.

Sunita Aggarwal, Spar Hackenthorpe, Sheffield

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