‘Divi’ money from Polesworth Co-op shoppers will help adults with learning disabilities

Adults with learning disabilities living in a care home will be able to keep in touch with family and friends over the internet, thanks to the generosity of Polesworth Co-op shoppers.

Customers at the convenience store have donated the value of their dividends to raise £1,557 for Polesworth Group Homes. The money will fund an iPad, which residents at the Laurel End care home in the village can use to stay connected.

Manager Karl Vyse said he was delighted to see so many shoppers giving up their ‘divis’ to help the charity and that the money would be put to such excellent use.

Resident of Polesworth Group Homes preparing food with staff member

Residents of Polesworth Group Homes will be benefiting from Tamworth Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund.

“Particularly at the moment, with the lockdown, it’s so vital that families are able to communicate easily with each other. This iPad will help them to do that,” said Mr Vyse.

The grant is from Tamworth Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund, an annual scheme allowing members and other customers to nominate an organisation on their doorstep for support.

Each of the co-operative society’s eleven convenience stores, plus its fashion outlet and supermarket in Tamworth adopts a worthy cause to assist.

Polesworth Group Homes provides residential care, respite and supported living and day activity services for more than 130 people with learning disabilities at eight homes in Polesworth, Dordon and Atherstone. Some have additional conditions, such as autism, speech and hearing impairments and epilepsy.

The aim is to help them lead full and active lives, and to be independent, encouraging them to engage in the life of the community.

Leigh-Anne Smith, chief executive of Polesworth Group Homes, said it was a lovely surprise to find out how much money had been raised.

“We are overwhelmed at the amount the local community has raised for our charity through their dividend donations,” said Mrs Smith.

“This money will help us to enhance the lives of the people we support. We haven’t decided yet exactly how all the funds will be used, but we will definitely purchase an iPad for the service users at our Laurel End home.

“Our core funding comes from the local authority, but because of Government cuts we have to rely on donations like this to buy specific equipment which we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.

“We have invested more recently in various pieces of technology such as iPads and larger keyboards for users with sight impairments. The iPads have been invaluable in the past few weeks in keeping everyone in touch via video link, but Laurel End has been without one, so we can’t thank the Co-op and its shoppers enough. Even with the Covid-19 situation, we have had so many calls from people volunteering to help us in any way they can, and this is another brilliant example of how the community is getting together and pulling behind us.”

The group has had to close its day services and visitors are not allowed to prevent the disease being spread during the pandemic.