A total of 70 community organisations throughout the Tamworth area are to share a whopping £35,000 festive pot to mark the late Queen’s 70-year reign.
The ‘70 for 70 Community Donation’ is the largest single amount ever handed out by Tamworth Co-operative Society in its long history.
The cash will benefit a huge range of groups. Among the recipients are charities offering support to young people, single mums, victims of domestic abuse, people with learning difficulties, the blind, elderly, disabled, homeless and sick, as well as those with mental health issues.
Nurseries, schools, foodbanks and First Responders are also on the list of beneficiaries, along with sports and recreational clubs, police, sea and air cadets, Scouts and Guides.
The money has come from Tamworth Co-operative Society’s Cash in the Bag scheme which raises funds for good causes from the sale of carrier bags.
Chief executive Julian Coles said: “Community groups the length and breadth of the local area are struggling like never before because of inflation and soaring energy prices. We wanted, therefore to do something special to help them over the Christmas period.
“Like millions of people in this country we experienced both the joy of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June and the great sadness of Her Majesty’s passing in September.
“We decided to spread some festive cheer far and wide across the Tamworth area in her honour. She was an exceptional and much-loved monarch. I think she would have been touched to know that she was the inspiration behind this wave of financial support to organisations which do such exemplary work in the community.”
He credited Sheree Peaple, who serves on the Society’s board of directors, for coming up with the ‘inspired 70-for-70 idea.’
Mr Coles revealed that 2022 was a record year for the Tamworth Co-op as far as community support is concerned. Despite facing the toughest economic trading challenges, the Society’s Community Dividend Fund distributed a further £10,000 to local organisations during the year.
He added: “A lot of people think that because we bear the Co-op name, we are part of a vast national organisation. They couldn’t be more wrong. We were founded in Tamworth in 1886, and to this day remain a local, independent co-operative society. We are as much part of this town as the Robin Reliant and the Tamworth pig.
“Part of our ethos as a co-operative is to give back to the area we serve, and we constantly do that by supporting local worthy causes. This culture of giving back was instilled in us by our founder, Reverend William MacGregor. I’m sure he would be delighted to see us offering this kind of support in an area he lived in and loved.”
During the countdown to Christmas, letters of thanks flooded into Tamworth Co-op’s offices. These are some of the responses received:
“To be given the prestigious award of receiving The Queens Award in 2021 and visiting Buckingham Palace this year we are forever thankful that she herself thought the work we do was amazing for the community. We are forever thankful for your amazing donation. We will use this towards utility bills in our time of need.”Yvonne Street, project manager, Changes Tamworth, a user-led mental health charity.
“We will use the money and equipment to benefit not only the present cadets at the detachment but future cadets too.” AUO Cook, detachment commander, Glascote Army Cadets.
“Our intention is to use this funding to purchase sensory equipment, for example an interactive touch table which provides, sensory and learning apps to stimulate the brain, encourage interaction and maintain focus. We feel that this would be a good use of the money as such equipment could provide benefits for many of our service users over a long period of time.” Clare Forbes, company secretary, Polesworth Group Homes which provides accommodation and support for adults with learning disabilities.
“There is always ongoing expenditure for equipment and running costs of the responder car – thank you!” Keith Dawson, co-ordinator, TAME Community First Responder Group.
“We are looking to purchase a pedestrian sprayer for spraying liquids onto our green which is recognised as one of the best crown greens in the county, in order to maintain and improve it. This donation will go a long way towards that cost.” Steve Stratfull, secretary, Tamworth Castle Bowling Club.
“The pads and batteries in the defibrillators have a limited life and the money will be used to keep the equipment up to date. Also, where groups are unable to raise sufficient funds to buy a defibrillator, we will top up the shortfall.
“We have over 60 defibrillators installed in Tamworth and the surrounding villages and are aiming to have 70 installed by our year end.” Melvin Watson, Tamworth Have a Heart.
“I was delighted to receive the letter today regarding the 70 for 70 Community Donations. Thank you so much for supporting us again.” Emma Coates, facilities and community co-ordinator, Tamworth Foodbank.
“We will need to discuss how to use the money, but I think having a badge for all our members would enable everyone in our division to benefit from your donation. Queen Elizabeth II was our patron from 1953 until her death and was herself both a Guide and a Ranger. This would be a lasting memory of her involvement in our organisation. If this is agreed, our girls would be asked to submit designs and we would have the badges made for us.” Jill Longhurst, division commissioner, Tamworth Division Guides.
“The monies will help offset some of the costs of running our weekly Time-Out Club. The club provides opportunities for people with dementia to come together and engage in a range of activities, including crafts, music, exercise and games. It also provides opportunities for caregivers to have some much-needed respite. Run by a very dedicated and enthusiastic group of experienced volunteers, the club also offers, where needed, dedicated one-to-one support and help with personal hygiene.” Dementia Caring.
“We are in the post Covid phase of rebooting Take A Bow, with a new project starting next year based around Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator. We have been given special permission from the Roald Dahl Estate to create and perform this piece and will be working alongside our Lichfield and Stoke groups to create a tour mid 2023. The money will be gratefully used towards funding this project.” Steve Mitchell, Take a Bow Musical Theatre Group, Tamworth.
“Your donation will cover the cost of a community Christmas card, with joint greetings from us and Whittington and Fisherwick Good Neighbour Scheme, to be delivered by volunteers to every house in the parish (over 1,200 in total).” Whittington and Fisherwick Good Neighbour Scheme and Fairtrade Organisation.
“We will use this money towards a project that we are currently working on at Two Rivers Primary School in Tamworth. We are funding a sensory room which will be refurbished and furnished with a selection of sensory equipment.” Maggie Haywood, trustee, Simon’s Heroes, a Tamworth based charity which helps children with life-limiting illnesses.
“Many thanks for your 70 for 70 Community Donation. What a wonderful thing to do. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we like many others are struggling financially and this donation will enable us to provide much needed resources, such as craft materials for our children.” Tracey Brooks, manager, Kingsbury 1st Pre-School.
“The money will go towards our rent and the purchase of food for the store which is used by struggling families.” Jenny Chatt, secretary, Dordon Community Store.
“As you can imagine small charities like us have been affected by the cost of living crisis, especially with the price of electricity. We currently have over 50 cadets regularly attending our unit which is fantastic. This donation will really help our unit to keep open during the winter months.” Nicola Castle, administration assistant, Tamworth and Lichfield Sea Cadets.
“Our initial thought is that we should use the donation to celebrate the coronation of Her Majesty’s successor King Charles III in May next year by holding a fun day and a tea party for our members.” Sylvia Geldard, leader of SPIN, a Tamworth charity which supports young people with special needs.
“We run an activities group for people in Dordon, putting on events throughout the year for struggling families, from indoor cinema events to the big Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Party in the Park last year. We also organise holiday family food, and fun during all the school holidays with our holiday hunger club. The money will be used to upgrade equipment and buy craft items.” Byron Melia, Dordon Activities Group.
“Given the squeeze on spending, and having consulted the school, we feel it is most appropriate that the money is spent on classroom resources that may otherwise not be possible to fund, such as art sets. Purchasing these assets with your donation will benefit every child in school and pupils for years to come, which we feel befits the spirit of the donation and Her Majesty’s long reign. We are working on the idea of a small project/competition, inviting children to design a label that we can fix to every asset purchased through this donation. It would mean every child will be able to see who funded the resources and in whose honour the donation was made.” Friends of Flax Hill School,
“It is an honour to receive this in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Thank you for your support and generosity.” Paula Da-Silva, charity manager, Tamworth Wellbeing Cancer Support.
“This funding will be earmarked to further enhance the facilities for all our users from Glascote and our wider community.” Lynne Galsworthy, treasurer, Glascote Meeting Room.
“As a first aid unit at Tamworth we are trying to raise money for a new treatment centre tent at Tamworth. This will be used when we are out providing first aid cover to the community as volunteers. We have a large unit consisting of fourteen 5-10-year-old badgers, 40 cadet members aged 10-18 and around 35 adult members. The majority of these members will benefit from this tent/treatment centre and will be proud to treat casualties in this new facility.” Helen Kesterton, unit manager, St John Ambulance.
“The school we are attached to is in need of financial support more than ever due to the increasing cost of everything. We’ve recently been requested to make a donation towards a new reading scheme for the school and the £500 would cover a considerable amount of that. Thank you again. Your donation will make a big impact.” Jessica Joesbury, treasurer of Friends of St Gabriel’s School.
“We are very grateful to be receiving this donation. It will make a great difference for the children we care for and educate. Our setting is in a deprived area of Amington and we currently support 47 families. As a charity ourselves, we struggle to buy and update our resources. So we have decided to buy tablets and other resources for our role play area.” Jennifer Crowley, Argyle Pre-School Nursery.
“We are delighted to hear of this donation and truly grateful to the Society board for choosing us as one of the recipients. The donation will enable us to purchase some replacements for some of the items needed for our service. We are presently looking to obtain some more plastic postal wallets and the postal cards marked ‘For the Blind.’ These are necessary for sending out the memory sticks containing the news and articles to the recipients, enabling us to keep up weekly communications with the visually impaired of Tamworth and the surrounding villages.” Edna Schafer-Hughes, treasurer, Tamworth Talking Newspaper.
Full list of the 70 organisations awarded £500 each
Kingsbury 1st Playgroup
Friends of St Gabriel’s PTA
Friends of Heronsgate (Lichfield)
Two Rivers Friends Association
Coseley Comets marching band
William MacGregor Primary School
Heath Hayes Academy
Friends of Flax Hill School
Argyle Pre-School Nursery
Rosliston Under 5s Pre-School
Heart of Tamworth Youth Group
1st Kingsbury Guides
Tamworth Police Cadets
Tamworth and Lichfield Sea Cadets
1122 Sqd (Marmion) Air Cadets
Army Cadets Glascote Platoon
1st Woodville Scouts
Tamworth Amateur Boxing Club
Tamworth District Scout Council
Tamworth District Girl Guides
Princes Trust Team Programme Tamworth
Dordon Community Shop
Heart of Tamworth
The Pathway Project
No 8 Charity
Citizens Advice Mid-Mercia
South Staffordshire Family Mediation Service
Tamworth Athletic Club
Haunton Community Hub Café
Dosthill and Two Gates Residents Association
Dordon Activities Group
Co-op Archive Project
Glascote Meeting Room Community Association
Tamworth Castle Bowls Club
Great Wyrley Senior Citizens Committee
Dun Roamin Rehoming
Tamworth Talking Newspaper
Coton Green Community Hall Association
Wood End Village Hall
Glascote Academy’s Community Farm Committee
Royal British Legion Tamworth
Whittington and Fisherwick Good Neighbour Scheme
Belgrave Allotments Association]
Tamworth Unicorn Swimming Club
Take a Bow Musical Theatre Group
The Aldridge Shed
Tamworth Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association
Guide Dogs (Tamworth)
St Giles Hospice
Tamworth Wellbeing and Cancer Support Centre
Acorns Children’s Hospice
Headway South Staffordshire
Step Forward Stroke Support Group
Tamworth Have a Heart
Tamworth Community First Responders
St John Ambulance Tamworth
Polesworth Group Homes
Whittington Community First Responders