Lichfield special school pupils get cash from community pot to help them cope with grief

Financial support from a doorstep support initiative is helping youngsters at a special school in Lichfield to cope with bereavement.

Shoppers at the Co-op convenience store in Marks Walk, off Eastern Avenue donated their dividends to raise the money for Queen’s Croft High School.

Nicky Gilbert, manager of Lichfield Co-op convenience store, presents the cheque from the Community Dividend Fund, to Peter Hawksworth, head of Queen’s Croft High School, pictured with some of pupils benefiting from grant.

Nicky Gilbert, manager of the Lichfield Co-op convenience store, presents the cheque from the Community Dividend Fund, to Peter Hawksworth, head of Queen’s Croft High School, pictured with some of the pupils benefiting from the grant.

The cash, from the Community Dividend Fund, has been used to buy storybooks designed to assist pupils in understanding and coming to terms with the loss of someone close.

Head teacher Peter Hawksworth said: “Bereavement is something all children struggle with, but when they have additional needs it is something that has to be very carefully managed.

“We really can’t thank the Co-op and its shoppers enough for their generosity. It is so appreciated. Our budget has been frozen for the last five years and our costs are going up, so any extra support like this is much needed.”

Queen’s Croft is the largest special school in Staffordshire,

catering for more than 200 pupils aged 11 to 19 with a range of learning difficulties and complex needs, such as autism.

The children study a variety of subjects, including learning about internet safety, with the aim of giving them skills for life and making them as independent as possible when they leave.

The pupils also grow their own vegetables and fruit, run a shop and serve food in a café. Facilities include a sensory room and garden, an outdoor classroom, science laboratory and a design and technology room with a kiln where they can produce pottery.

Nicky Gilbert, manager of the Tamworth Co-op owned convenience store, who handed over a cheque for £250, said: “It really is an impressive school in the way the students are given so many opportunities to develop, and I’m delighted this grant is helping them deal with such an emotionally difficult issue.

“We’ve handed out thousands of pounds from the Community Dividend Fund over the last decade to good causes locally. Our customers nominate each year which organisation they would like their dividends to go to and this time Queen’s Croft High School got their vote.”