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Monday, July 9, 2018

  • Heart of England Co-operative Society’s Helping Hearts Awards Scheme celebrates pledging more than £1 million to charities and worthy causes as it comes of age
  • Society pledges at least £50,000 per year to groups who work for the benefit of their local communities
  • More than 4,700 awards of up to £1,000 distributed since launch

A community scheme launched 18 years ago to mark the birth of the Heart of England Co-operative Society as we know it today has raised a fantastic £1 million for local charities and worthy causes.
Since its launch, hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from the Helping Hearts Awards Scheme, which distributes a portion of the Society’s profits throughout its local community of Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
One of the most ambitious and progressive schemes of its kind, Helping Hearts was launched with a £50,000 kickstart to celebrate the birth of the Society, which had previously been known as the Coventry & East Mercia Co-operative.
Over time, Helping Hearts has proven to be a real game changer for community retailers – setting the bar for others to follow.
Among the many groups in society to benefit over the years are the elderly, cancer patients, amateur dramatics groups, churchgoers, brownies and cubs, young carers, and animals.
From new football kits for junior football teams, to rehabilitation sessions for people recovering from illness or an operation, and from contributions towards defibrillators for local communities, to help towards upgrading the fire alarm systems within well-used community facilities – the criteria for receiving a Helping Hearts Award is wide and varied.
To date, in excess of 4,700 awards have been distributed among hundreds of charities and worthy causes across the area, allowing them to continue serving their local communities.
Ali Kurji, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Co-operative Society, said: “We are extremely proud of our Helping Hearts Awards Scheme which has touched the lives of countless thousands over the past 18 years.
“We like to think the scheme is very much in keeping with the vision of our original founders – nine Coventry ribbon weavers who way back in 1832 grouped together with the aim of standing up to greedy manufacturers who exploited families by charging over inflated prices for less than satisfactory products.
“Although our founders’ dreams and ambitions to sell quality goods at fair prices are still at the very heart of our Society’s ethos today we now go a fair few steps further by sharing our profits among the very people whose ongoing loyalty enables our Society to enjoy continued growth all these years later.
“We seek to continue building on the success of Helping Hearts to date and look forward to supporting charities and worthy causes in the future.”
The Society also operates a corporate charity initiative alongside Helping Hearts, which is now in its seventh year.
Supporting Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, The Myton Hospices and Guide Dogs for two years each, the scheme has raised a collective £140,000 for the three charities.
The Society recently named Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice as its corporate charity for 2018 and staff across its Food and Funeral Divisions are aiming to mirror the success of previous years for children with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses.
The corporate charity scheme, together with Helping Hearts and the sales of Society 5p carrier bags, which sees the retailer donate every penny from the bags to charity, has raised way over £1 million to good causes in the area.

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