Tamworth Co-op Community Dividend Fund helps tots to enjoy their snacks in comfort

Youngsters at a popular village playgroup no longer have to sit on the floor to enjoy their snacks because of the generosity of shoppers at Whittington Co-op.

Children who attend Whittington Baby and Toddler Group now have chairs and tables for when they eat after customers at the Co-op in Main Street donated their dividends to raise £606 for the group.

Hayley Gilbert, manager of the Tamworth Co-op run store, said she was delighted by the response from shoppers who were asked to give up their loyalty rewards for a good cause on their doorstep as part of the Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund scheme.

Hayley Gilbert (right), manager of Whittington Co-op, presents a cheque for £606 to Carlene Farebrother (centre), a volunteer at the Whittington Baby and Toddler Group, in front of celebrating parents and children.

“We had lots of nominations for this popular village group and I’m pleased the money is being put to such good use.”

Carlene Farebrother, one of nine volunteers who run weekly sessions throughout the year for around 50 babies and children up to the age of five, said the grant came at ‘just the right time.’

“It was a huge relief for us when we found out we were getting this money as we were desperately in need of chairs and tables for a party. It’s acts of kindness like this which help us to stay open as we are constantly struggling for funds to pay for the many activities we organise.

“We really appreciate Tamworth Co-op and its customers giving us this donation and thank them. It means a great deal to us. We had some chairs and tables before, but we could only seat 16 of the children. The others had to sit on the floor. Now we’ve been able to buy four tables plus 50 chairs so they can all sit down when they eat. We will use them every single week.”

The baby and toddler group was started five years ago by a mother who identified a need in the village for such a facility.

The children take part in arts and crafts activities, themed round different events in the calendar, and there are parties as well in the summer and at Christmas. The group is also an important social hub for parents who may otherwise feel isolated to find friendship.

The Community Dividend Fund has handed out around £100,000 to deserving community causes, including many in the Whittington and Lichfield areas, since it was established 10 years ago.

Each of Tamworth Co-op’s 11 food stores, along with its main department store and supermarket, supports a different cause every year.