Tesco's Ellie hailed for community work
When a corporate giant such as Tesco arrives in a Norfolk market town, its new neighbours rarely roll out the welcome mat.But the branch in Fakenham has been hailed as a shining example of how the supermarket chain should work within the community which supports it.
When a corporate giant such as Tesco arrives in a Norfolk market town, its new neighbours rarely roll out the welcome mat.
But the branch in Fakenham has been hailed as a shining example of how the supermarket chain should work within the community which supports it.
The Oak Street shop, and its community champion Ellie Clayton, are the stars of a new training DVD produced by Tesco to be sent to 70 of its stores across the country.
It shows supermarket staff working alongside schools and conservation teams and includes an interview with the town mayor, applauding the work of Miss Clayton's team.
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Miss Clayton, 26, hopes the film will inspire other community champions as the pilot scheme grows nationwide, and said the success of the project in Fakenham was helped by the way the store had been embraced by the town.
'I think it is something to be quite proud of,' she said. 'It has put Fakenham on the map in the Tesco world as one of the major stores for this community project.
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'They have chosen to film it here as an example of how it should be done. It is a bubbly market town and they picked up that vibe and it has come across well on the DVD.
'Whether people's opinions about Tesco are changing, I don't know, but it has changed for me. I was one of the people who didn't want it in town but I got a job here and it changed my opinion altogether.
'It would not be possible without the buy-in from the people of the town. Without that, it would not have taken off in the way that it has.'
Miss Clayton joined the store when it opened in 2006 and became one of Tesco's first community champions the following year.
Since then, her team's achievements include a gardening project with All Saints Primary School in Stibbard, helping the Fakenham Area Conservation Team to clear trenches around the old railway line and planting 1,000 daffodil bulbs in a memorial garden at Creake Road cemetery.
Fakenham mayor Jayne Cubitt said although her civic role prevented her supporting any particular company, she was happy to promote the community work Miss Clayton had done for the town.
She said: 'The community champion role is really valuable and I support Ellie and her team for the work they have carried out.
'Ellie is so bubbly and approachable and if you want something done you only have to ask. It is absolutely fantastic they chose to produce this training DVD in Fakenham and it is all down to this girl and her enthusiasm to inspire everybody else.'