THREE community groups are celebrating after being surprised with an ‘extra special’ donation in time for Christmas.

This Christmas, in celebration of the Asda Foundation's 30th Birthday, three Darlington charities will see their donation doubled as part of the supermarket’s campaign to ‘make Christmas extra special’.

The Red Box Project Darlington, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Charity and Foundation UK Darlington have all been shortlisted for the Green Token Scheme, which allows customers at the store on Whinbush Way to pick charities or community groups to gain funding boosts by placing a green token in the relevant box.

The charity who receives the most weight in green tokens will receive £1000 instead of £500, with the other two runners up receiving £500 each instead of £200.

To help gain support for their cause each shortlisted charity was surprised with a magical green jar, encouraged to share their news in their local area and encourage customers to vote. This was along with a note to announce they are now in the running to receive double the amount they originally anticipated.

The Red Box Project work to fight period poverty, CDDFT Charity are raising funds for a neo natal cuddle cot for Darlington Memorial Hospital and Foundation UK support homelessness in Darlington.

Asda Darlington Community Champion, Louise Gibson, said: “We’re really excited to be spreading the magic this Christmas by supporting three local charity groups with double the donation they were expecting as part of our Green Token Giving Scheme.

"We couldn’t be happier that this Christmas the Asda Foundation are doubling their investment meaning we will be donating £2,000 across all three shortlisted groups with the winner set to receive £1,000 – don’t forget to come into store and vote.”

Over 1500 local charities and causes across the country will benefit from the boost from a £1m investment by the Asda Foundation.