Heart of England Co-operative Society helps forge friendships within Chilvers Coton Community School

Jo Dyke (left), with deputy head teacher Mrs Mabberley and pupils Joshua Jacques-Wood and Ahmed Yusuf.


School among thousands of worthy causes to receive a share of £951,000 from Helping Hearts Awards Scheme

Monday, August 08, 2017

A Nuneaton primary school whose pupils speak a collective 25 languages has been awarded £500 from the Heart of England Co-operative Society’s Helping Hearts Awards Scheme.

The school was among the latest round of recipients awarded money by Helping Hearts – a community chest which has distributed over £951,000 of the retailer’s profits to charities and worthy causes since its launch in the year 2000.

In that time, Helping Hearts has distributed the money across thousands of community groups and organisations across Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire – leaving less than £50,000 to go until it reaches the magic £1 million mark.

Thousands of people have benefited over the past 17 years, from churchgoers raising funds for a new roof, to junior football teams in need of new kits.

And from amateur dramatics groups planning their latest production, to homeless people being fed with a Christmas turkey dinner.

The school has used its money towards creating a garden area for the children. It is part of wider plans to create a community environment for parents and pupils of Chilvers Coton Community School and Nursery.

Situated in Fitton Street, the school caters for children aged 3-7 years, some with severe learning and physical disabilities, as well as for children who speak English as an additional language.

Jo Kershaw, Headteacher at the school, whose pupils number 256, including 48 with special needs or disabilities, said: “Our aim is to promote a caring, sharing and learning together environment – not only for our children but for our families.

“School funding has been very challenging over the last few years with very little funding to carry out capital expenditure, however as a school family we have worked hard with fundraising activities.

“Our families are very generous with their time, support and, where possible, their financial commitment. However, our school operates in an area of high social deprivation and raising additional funds is challenging.”

Jo said the garden area is being used to grow plants and vegetables, in a bid to show the children the benefits of healthy eating.

As part of wider plans to create a social meeting facility for parents, while waiting for their children, the school has bought a wooden arbour, some benches and is now focusing on repairing the roof of its gazebo – a facility often used by the children to shelter from the rain or the sun during break times, and often used by the parents at the end of the day.

Ali Kurji, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Co-operative Society, said: “Chilvers Coton Community School and Nursery is like one big family, with members from all over the world. It is exactly the type of organisation we actively seek to give financial help to, through our unique Helping Hearts Awards Scheme.

“The school has a fantastic multicultural ethos with 85 per cent of pupils speaking English as an additional language.

“Creating a garden area and other communal areas for parents and children is a fantastic way to break down barriers. Some of the parents don’t speak English at all, but a project such as this will teach their children from a very young age about different cultures and languages from around the world and how fruit and vegetables grow from the ground to the pot!”

Jo Dyke, Community and Membership Adviser at the Society, said the garden area was the perfect example of the type of initiative Helping Hearts seeks to assist.

She urged other non-profit making causes to apply for funding.

With awards ranging from £10 to £1,000 the criteria is wide and varied. Applicants must demonstrate the benefit to their community.

Application forms are available from any Society branch. Or log on to https://heartofengland.coop/society/helping-hearts or contact Jo on 02476 382331.
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