Community groups share cash raised by Tamworth Co-op supermarket shoppers

An award-winning charity which helps people suffering acute mental distress is one of three Tamworth organisations receiving a much-needed injection of cash, thanks to shoppers.

Customers at the Co-op supermarket in Church Street have given up the dividends they earn on their purchases to raise a total of £1,107.

Julie Clark, manager of the Tamworth Co-op supermarket, presents a cheque for £369 to (left to right) Keely Taylor, chair of the Dyspraxia Foundation Tamworth Support Group, disability sports coach Kev Vaughan, Mary Watkins, the group’s secretary, and committee member Mike Stevenson, with some of the children who take part in the trampolining sessions.

The money, from Tamworth Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund, is being shared between Changes Tamworth, the Dyspraxia Foundation Tamworth Support Group and 1122 Marmion Squadron Air Cadets.

Julie Clark, manager of the Co-op supermarket, presented cheques for the amount raised to the three groups.

She said: “It’s so rewarding to know that the money is going to three such worthy causes on our doorstep. Changes provides an incredible service to people who can be suicidal and there is no doubt the volunteers there save lives. The other two organisations also make a valuable contribution to the local community and very much deserve all the backing we can give them.”

Members of 1122 Marmion Squadron Air Cadets (left to right) Sergeant Jack Coley, 18, Corporal Leonie Chesworth, 15, Corporal Laura Egginton, 16 and cadet Rachel Egginton, 14, receive a cheque for £369 from Julie Clark, manager of the Tamworth Co-op supermarket.

Changes Tamworth, based in King Street, provides a free, unique recovery programme for adults with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Yvonne Street, one of two unpaid wellness coaches, at Changes, said: “We rely on donations to keep going, so we owe a big thanks to the Co-op and its customers for their generosity. This money will enable us to buy new software which will make it much easier for us to apply for grants.”

Pictured at the Community Dividend Fund presentation at Changes in Tamworth are wellness coaches Tony Colbourne (left) and Yvonne Street (right) with Julie Clark, manager of Tamworth Co-op supermarket, and volunteer Louise Dutton.

The group, founded in 2016, has 250 members, who attend weekly workshops and peer support meetings where they are given strategies to get better. Volunteers, who have experienced mental trauma themselves, assist with the programme which offers immediate help to the distressed.

The Dyspraxia Foundation Tamworth Support Group runs weekly trampoline sessions at Wilnecote High Leisure Centre to help children with the co-ordination disorder.

Chair Keely Taylor said: “We can’t thank the Co-op and the shoppers enough. This is fantastic news. It will pay for us to keep on a disability sports coach. We’ll also be able to buy some belts to secure the children during somersaults, as well as soft balls and frisbees for them to throw at each other while they’re trampolining. It helps them with their co-ordination and gives them confidence.”

The donation to the 1122 Marmion Squadron Air Cadets, based in Moor Street, will go towards providing a second minibus for the group. Kay Coley, chairman of the civilian committee, said: “We really appreciate this help from the Tamworth Co-op and its customers. It means everything to us. At the moment we only have a 16-seater bus, which is not big enough to take all our cadets to activities across the country, and so we have to rely on parents for transport.”

Since it was established ten years ago, the Community Dividend Fund has distributed more than £100,000 to charities, clubs and schools in the area. Each of Tamworth Co-op’s branches, including the supermarket, eleven convenience stores and town centre fashion outlet, adopts a good cause to support.