Tamworth Co-op supports local charities through Cash in the Bag scheme

Tamworth Co-operative is using the 5p charge on plastic shopping bags to support local charities.

The co-op, which dates back to 1886, has handed out £20,000 to four organisations in its trading area. Starfish, Heart of Tamworth, Community Together and Tamworth Sea Cadets have each received £5,000 through the society’s newly launched Cash in the Bag scheme.

With an annual turnover of £20m, Tamworth Co-op runs food stores, department stores and funeral services that stretch beyond the town itself. The society donates thousands of pounds on an annual basis to good causes in its trading area through its Community Dividend Fund.

The funding will help the four organisations to address various issues in the local community. The Starfish Project will use some of the funding from the co-op to create winter night shelters for rough sleepers. It operates a network of four drop-in centres for vulnerable adults, offering food and support.

Another charity, the Heart of Tamworth, will allocate the awarded amount to the refurbishment of church rooms to offer a café and a meeting place in the town centre for local organisations.

Community Together CIC provides free recreational activities and job advice to help bond communities and promote healthy lifestyles. The community interest company was a receiver of a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2016.

Lee Bates, project co-ordinator for Community Together and a former mayor of the town, said: “In the current climate, there are fewer funding pots out there and they are always over-subscribed. To be given this amount of money is amazing. It will help us to maintain and keep our services accessible.”

A nautical youth charity, Tamworth Sea Cadets plans to buy kayaks and a stacking trailer, which will enable their members to travel to stretches of water outside the Midlands.

Tamworth Co-op chief executive Julian Coles said: “This money has come from our customers and we’re delighted to be able to hand it over to such worthy causes in our local community.”