Photo Above: Jane Ridge, from The Co-operative Funeralcare in Earl Shilton, visiting Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland’s Earl Shilton Centre.

Photo Below: Tracey Slater, Store Manager at The Co-operative in Stoney Stanton, with Julie Mould-Cook from Stoney Stanton Library.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has handed over £2,500 to Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland.

The money is from sales of 5p carrier bags and is part of a total £25,000 pot of cash being distributed among 15 charities and worthy causes.

Over the past four years the Society, which operates branches of The Co-operative food stores in Barwell, Market Bosworth, Sapcote and Stoney Stanton, as well as funeral homes in Barlestone and Earl Shilton, has raised £175,000 for charities through sales of carrier bags alone.

The charities are all based within the Society’s trading area of Coventry, Warwickshire, South Leicestershire and Northamptonshire and have all been voted for by shoppers at the Society’s network of 33 Food stores.

Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland organises some 15 activities every week to help older people in the local area to lead enjoyable, fulfilling lives.

Every Friday the group holds a coffee morning and raffle at its branch in Kings Walk, Earl Shilton, giving people the chance to meet up with friends or make new friends.

Other weekly activities include a coffee morning and raffle, computer drop-in, tea dance, Weight Watchers sessions, exercise, craft activities, tai chi, Zumba, short mat bowls.

Tony Donovan, Chief Executive of Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland, said the unexpected windfall had come as a welcome surprise.

He said: “The money will be used to assist with meeting the cost of the information and advice work undertaken by Age UK across the Hinckley and Bosworth area.

“A very big thank you to the Heart of England Co-operative Society and their customers for their support and kindness.”

With the second highest number of votes among shoppers in the Hinckley area, Stoney Stanton Library was awarded £1,500, while the Concordia Theatre received £1,000 after attracting the third highest number of votes.

The Society is among thousands of retailers operating a government levy to reduce damage to the environment.

Government statistics show that in 2014 customers used more than 7.6 billion single-use bags, equating to 61,000 tonnes, or 140 bags for every person in Britain.

After the levy was introduced in 2015 sales of the bags in major supermarkets fell by 86 per cent, equating to just 19 bags per person, in 2016/17.

By 2018 the number of bags sold had further fallen, with 1.75 billion sold during the year.

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