Big-hearted Tamworth Co-op shoppers dish out more ‘divis’

Two community groups have received a much-needed boost to their coffers during lockdown, thanks to the generosity of Tamworth Co-op shoppers .

Phoenix Rangers Juniors football team has been handed a cheque for £675, while Burton’s Red Lion House Charity is celebrating a £500 windfall.

The cash was raised by warm-hearted shoppers at the Co-op convenience stores in Stretton and Rosliston donating the dividends earned on their purchases.

James Haywood, manager of Phoenix Rangers under 13s football team, said his 16-strong squad will be sporting new training kits as a result of the donation.

“There will also be money left over that we can invest in training equipment. We are so incredibly grateful for this gift.

Junior football player holding Community Dividend Fund cheque aloft with another player and manager and Tamworth Co-op manager in mouth of goal

James Haywood, manager of Phoenix Rangers Juniors, is pictured with two of his young players and Tamworth Co-op business manager Julie Gasper after being presented with a cheque for £675.

“When restrictions are lifted, all the players will be able to turn up for away games in the same smart tracksuits rather than in their old mixed kits. That will be a great way to mark our return.”

The team was founded in 2013 and plays all its home games at Rosliston’s recreation ground in Strawberry Lane. The side competes in the Burton Junior Football League but has not been in action since November because of the Covid pandemic.

Representatives of Burton’s Red Lion House Charity have also been toasting the kindness of customers at the Co-op store in James Brindley Way, Stretton. The charity was set up in 2015, converting a former pub into a much needed community centre. The shoppers’ ‘divis’ will be used to equip an upstairs kitchen.

Structural work to the building and refurbishment of the ground floor was completed in December 2019. The centre includes a large meeting room, a catering standard kitchen and toilet facilities.

It was being used by a variety of groups, and for meetings, events and private parties, until the Covid crisis came along. Over the past year it has had little use.

The trustees are now seeking funds to complete the upstairs area. This will provide three meeting rooms, an office space, a small kitchen area and a toilet.

“We would like to thank all the Co-op shoppers who have supported our community project with their dividends. Our thanks also go to the decision makers at Tamworth Co-op,” said the charity’s treasurer, Dr Stephen Collier.

The money is part of Tamworth Co-operative Society’s Community Dividend Fund which has distributed more than £100,000 to worthy causes during the past decade. Each year it benefits two community organisations in the Burton area.

Business support manager Julie Gasper said it was a pleasure to support two such good causes.

“The money will help both of these organisations to come back with a flourish once the pandemic is over. We have released the funds earlier than normal this year because we are well aware of the impact that the current crisis could have on the finances of some excellent community groups.”