Tamworth Co-op hands out cash and food to help struggling families

The retail society also made donations to local food banks as part of its efforts to support vulnerable locals

Tamworth Co-operative Society has dished out £4,000 in cash and food to help local families struggling to make ends meet.

Over Christmas, more than 400 parcels filled with £2,000 worth of cupboard staples, including rice, cereals, tins and pasta, and festive treats, were distributed to people in need.

Staff at the society’s supermarket put them together and they were then handed out by the Heart of Tamworth Community Project and the Santa’s Little Helpers group.

The retail co-op also donated a £1,500 to Tamworth Foodbank and £500 to Dordon Community Food Store. Tamworth Foodbank’s grant helped it to feed around 450 people in the run-up to Christmas, while Dordon Community Food Store was able to stock up on frozen items. 

The money came from the society’s Cash in the Bag scheme and was raised from the introduction of a 5p levy on the sale of plastic bags across its food stores. 

Tamworth Co-op also gave nearly £800 to Tamworth Foodbank from its Community Dividend Fund last year.

Project manager Emma Coates said: “I know that Tamworth Co-op helps a lot of other organisations in this area, and we are greatly appreciative of what they have done for us.

“On average throughout the year we support around 20 people every day, but during the Christmas and New Year periods the numbers rocket.”

Sheree Peaple, a Tamworth Co-op board director and trustee of the Heart of Tamworth Community Project, said: “Poverty is a big problem on our doorstep, and we have been supporting people with food parcels during school holidays throughout the Covid period.”

Dordon Community Food Store was opened at the start of the first lockdown amid rising concerns that some villagers were finding it increasingly tough to afford meals. Shoppers who visit the store are asked to donate whatever they can afford for their shopping. 

It has also given elderly and vulnerable people a place close to home where they feel they can shop in safety due to a strict ‘one in, one out’ policy.

Samantha McCarthy, chairperson of Dordon Community Food Store, said: “Our shopping costs up to £3,000 every month and we receive average donations of £120-130 a month in our store, so we really appreciate help with funding. The money from the Tamworth Co-op is very important to us and we have used it specifically to stock up on frozen food which is something new for us.”