Photo (Left to right) – Ali Kurji, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Co-operative Society; Trevor Williams, Store Manager of The Co-operative at Sketchley Brook in Burbage, Hinckley; Muna Chauhan, Head of Fundraising at Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice; Clive Miles, President of the Heart of England Co-operative Society, and Jo Dyke, Community and Membership Adviser at the Society.

Society Chief Executive calls on the Coventry and Warwickshire community to help keep the funds coming in

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has handed a fantastic £36,000 to Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice.

The donation comes as the Coventry hospice issued a rallying call from the Coventry and Warwickshire community in the wake of Covid-19.

The pandemic has forced the hospice to cancel major fundraising events such as its annual ball which over the past four years has raised a total £245,000 towards running costs.

With this year’s vital fundraising efforts suffering a major blow Ali Kurji, Chief Executive of the Society, said it was up to local businesses and individuals to pull together to help plug the gap for the hospice which caters for babies and children up to the age of five with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses.

Mr Kurji said: “We have enjoyed a successful relationship with Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice since long before it opened its doors in 2011 when we gave our first donation of £2,000 towards its Quiet Room.

“Everyone at Zoë’s Place works hard day in, day out, to ensure the best level of care for each and every child and to make sure that the hospice has enough money to keep its service going.

“The team do not have the easiest jobs at the best of times but Covid-19 has made their jobs so much more difficult – putting paid to their fundraising efforts over the coming weeks, if not months.

“It is up to each and every one of us to make sure Zoë’s Place continues to receive much-needed funds.”

The hospice is the only facility of its kind to offer a dedicated palliative, respite and end-of-life service for babies and children aged from birth to five years.

The money from the Society was the result of two years of fundraising within its network of 35 Food stores and 14 Funeral homes as well as its Coventry Head Office.

Customers, members and colleagues across the Society’s trading area of Coventry, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and south west Leicestershire pulled out all the stops to raise the cash.

Football tournaments, car washes, Halloween fancy dress days and Christmas jumper days were among the events held over the two years to help raise the funds.

Peter Jarvis is the National Patron of Zoë’s Place Trust, which operates three facilities in Coventry, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. He is also the Chairman of the Zoë’s Place Business Group in Coventry which organises the annual ball and other fundraising events.

He said: “Zoë’s Place is a fantastic and unique facility and one which needs the ongoing support of everyone in Coventry and Warwickshire during these unprecedented times.

“There is no other hospice in the UK which gives the same level of dedicated care to babies and children under six. But the service is almost wholly reliant on donations from the community.

“Although we cannot hold our usual events right now we can all continue to do our bit. If we all donated just a few pounds every month collectively we could make a massive difference to the hospice, enabling it to continue to provide vital support to local children and their families.”

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