Heart of England Co-operative Society shoppers help raise £10,000 for good causes in South Warwickshire

Jo Dyke, Community and Membership Adviser of the Heart of England Co-operative Society (left) and Clive Miles, President of the Society (right) with (from left) Heather Haslett, Gerald Haseldine, Dan Champion and Kristie Naimo – all from the Friends of Foundry Wood.


Fifteen community groups share a total of £50,000 raised from sales of 5p carrier bags

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Volunteers who oversee the upkeep of an urban community woodland created to provide a safe space for wildlife, as well as a leisure and educational facility for visitors, have landed a £5,000 windfall thanks to customers of the Heart of England Co-operative Society.

The money will be used to help enhance the visitor experience at Foundry Wood, in the heart of Royal Leamington Spa, as well as towards equipment and materials for the ongoing improvement and maintenance of the site.

The cash was generated through sales of 5p carrier bags across the Society’s network of food stores, introduced as part of the government levy to reduce damage to the environment.

Every time shoppers buy bags from the retailer they are given tokens enabling them to vote for one of three charities in their respective areas to receive a share of the money.

With the highest number of votes among shoppers in south Warwickshire the Friends of Foundry Wood received half of a £10,000 payout in the area.
The remaining £5,000 was divided between Warwick and Leamington Foodbank, which received £3,000, and the Helen Ley Care Centre in Leamington, which was awarded £2,000.

Before the creation of Foundry Wood in 2012 the site – behind the old Ford Foundry site on Princes Drive, Leamington, had previously been used as railway sidings, but had been abandoned for almost 60 years with no public access.

Today, with the help of up to 40 volunteers, including a core of 20, the site is widely used by the public, with regular events such as forest schools, school and guide visits, ecotherapy sessions and volunteer maintenance days.

Kristie Naimo, Chair of the Friends of Foundry Wood, said the money from the Society will be used to restore pathways at the site and to make it more accessible to all, by investing in benches and grab rails and other aids.

She added: “We are delighted with the donation from the Heart of England Co-op. Our volunteers work hard to fundraise for the woodland throughout the year so this is a fantastic boost to help us maintain Foundry Wood and make it accessible for all.”

Altogether the Society paid out £50,000 to 15 charities in the latest round across its trading area of Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

Ali Kurji, Chief Executive of the Society, said: “Foundry Wood is a well loved facility among the people of south Warwickshire and we are delighted to be able to give it a financial boost, with the help of our customers so it continues to bring pleasure to everyone in the community.”

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