Tamworth Co-op customers provide emergency fund for housing association

An organisation providing accommodation and support for young people aged 16-25 has received a boost from Tamworth Co-operative Society.

Generous shoppers at the Society’s fashion outlet in Colehill raised £500 for Tamworth Cornerstone Housing Association by donating the dividends they earned on their purchases. The money is part of Tamworth Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund and will be used as an emergency pot for the young residents.

“We operate on very tight margins and it’s very difficult to set money aside like this, so we were extremely grateful to receive it,” said the association’s chief executive Stephanie Hood.

“The donation might be used to pay for a taxi to get to a hospital appointment or a job interview. It might even buy an emergency food parcel for someone. In better times I like to think it could also be used on funding a barbecue for the people who are staying with us to give them a lift.”

Tamworth Co-op fashion outlet Community Dividend Fund presentation

Tamworth Co-op’s business support manager Julie Gasper (front left) is pictured with Tamworth Cornerstone Housing Association chief executive Stephanie Hood (front right) at the presentation of the Community Dividend Fund cheque. Looking on are Cornerstone key worker Carol Farmer and administrator Mark Cawley.

The cheque was handed over by the Society’s business support manager, Julie Gasper, who said she was delighted the money would be used to help young people when they need it most.

“I would like to thank all our customers who so kindly donated their dividends,” she said.

“The money has gone to a wonderful cause and that is really heartening. Just like the Tamworth Co-op, Cornerstone Housing Association is a local, independent organisation and it’s a pleasure to be able to support them. They carry out invaluable work in our community. Many young lives have been enhanced as a result of their efforts and vision.”

The  association was formed on a Christian ethos 36 years ago and is based at The Old Schoolhouse in Amington. Several members of its management committee are members of the nearby St Editha’s Church on the Green.

It currently caters for 37 people who all live in single-room accommodation. Another fourteen units are currently being built in the grounds.

 A team of 11 fully-trained staff provide 24-hour support every day of the year. The people under their care can call for help at any time of the day or night if they need urgent attention.

In addition to providing a safe place to live, the association also teaches service users everything from how to apply for benefits to how to wash their clothes. They are taught how to cook economic and nutritious meals and even given guidance on job applications and interview techniques. Young people who have drug or alcohol issues are referred to agencies offering specialist assistance.

There are a number of reasons why the residents need support. They may have been sleeping rough or have learning difficulties. Others might be fleeing violence. While most are from the Tamworth area, a few come from further afield. All are given hope for a better future.

Stephanie Hood said there have been many extremely positive outcomes.

“We have had a lot of significant success stories. Some people who have stayed with us in the past have gone on to study at university. We’ve even had some who went on to enjoy international careers.”

TCHA is providing its full service and accepting new referrals during the pandemic. For more information call 01827 319918.

Financial donations are always welcome, as are items including toiletries, long-life food, bed linen, towels and kitchen goods such as plates and saucepans. For more information on the type of help needed visit https://www.tcha.org.uk/