Lichfield Co-op shoppers raise £500 for ‘tranquillity garden’

Big-hearted food shoppers have enabled a Lichfield school to complete a project to help hundreds of pupils ‘relax and reflect’ as they emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Customers at the Lichfield Co-op food store in Mark’s Walk donated the dividends they earned on their purchases to the nearby Willows Primary School. Their efforts raised £500 towards the cost of building a ‘tranquillity garden’ in the school grounds.

Headteacher Jo Whitmore described the new outdoor feature as ‘a beautiful space to carry out mindfulness, wellbeing and personal development activities with children.’

Lichfield Co-op manager handing over cheque from Community Dividend Fund to school

Nicky Gilbert (left), manager of the Lichfield Co-op convenience store, pictured at the presentation of the Community Dividend Fund cheque in the herb section of the new garden with Willows Primary School deputy headteacher Laura Lazenby and some of the pupils who will be using it.

“It’s a landscaped, peaceful area of our school which will also be used as a calm and quiet space where children can relax or reflect.

“The garden was carefully designed using ideas suggested by our school’s pupil board. It includes a beautiful water feature, comfortable seating areas and a range of calming trees, plants and herbs.”

She said the cash had come at an ideal time and would benefit all 460 pupils aged between two and eleven.

“This gift has been particularly useful as we support children returning to school full-time following the Covid-19 national lockdowns.

“We are so grateful for this gift from the Tamworth Co-operative Society and its shoppers. The Community Dividend Fund scheme is an excellent initiative. Supporting our children at this time with mindfulness, wellbeing and personal development activities is such an important part of ensuring they all have good mental health.”

Willows Primary School was opened more than 50 years ago, with a high percentage of children receiving Pupil Premium Funding. The school’s motto is ‘be the best you can be’ and it has received high SAT scores, being described by inspectors as ‘outstanding.’

Nicky Gilbert, manager of the Lichfield Co-op convenience store, recently visited the school to see the new garden.

She said: “It’s good to see the money has been put to such great use. I really enjoyed the sight and smell of the new flowers and herbs. After what everybody has been through it’s such a lovely area for the children to relax in.”

Tamworth Co-operative Society is currently distributing more than £10,000 to schools in its trading area, with each of its stores being paired with a separate project.