Auntie Val’s given major boost through community support

Auntie Val's Kitchen celebrates being given a fundraisung boost. Val Challis and the team. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

An award-winning company that requires £10,000 to continue providing employment to people with special needs has been given a major boost.

Auntie Val’s, based in the Chantry Trading Estate, Storrington, needs to raise the money to pay for a machine that puts labels onto jams and marmalades made by a team of disabled people known as the ‘Jammy Dodgers’.

Val Challis. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

This week, 14 residents formed a rescue action team and identified a number of tasks which urgently need action to help save the company founded by professional carer Val Challis in 2015.

Chairman of the group Nick Gras said: “There is a huge amount of work to be done in a very short period to prevent potential closure of the manufacturing. At the top of the list is fund raising and regular donations.

“We are in the process of setting-up Auntie Val’s Community Angels Project by asking the community to consider donating a small sum by direct debit every month, be it a pound or more. Every penny will help pay the wages of the disabled employees.

“The team is also booking Christmas fair venues so we can display the range of jams. The public will be able to taste them and learn more about what Auntie Val’s is all about and what it is doing for the young disabled adults in our community.”

Members of the group have offered to help Auntie Val’s with jobs ranging from repairing a leaking roof to managing the company’s day-to-day accounting after spotting Val’s appeal for help, reported in the County Times last week.

The company initally set itself two weeks to raise the money but has now extended the time frame. Val added: “We are very confident we will raise the money to pay for the machine. We currently have an auction running for a Christmas hamper which is up to £150 already.”

A JustGiving page to raise the £10,000 has also helped donate more than £2,000. You can support it here.

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