Local homeless charity, Newbury Soup Kitchen, has been selected as the fundraising partner for a new Southern Co-op store in Newbury, receiving a £1000 donation followed by a year’s partnership and officially opening the new store on Brummell Road on Wednesday [12 July].
The partnership comes as part of Southern Co-op’s ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ scheme.
Meryl Praill, who runs Newbury Soup Kitchen, said: “Newbury Soup Kitchen is a team of volunteers from all walks of life with little or no experience – especially me. I just couldn’t bear knowing that these lovely people were going hungry. As a result of setting up Newbury Soup Kitchen we have become a happy place where people come for a chat, food and somewhere that they will be treated normally – there is a lot of laughter. We are thrilled to have been selected as the fundraising partner with this new Southern Co-op store. We have plans to put the money towards tents, rucksacks, sleeping bags and flasks and maybe even mobile shower facilities and general support in the future.”
New store manager Jamie Wheeler said: “It’s great to team up with Newbury Soup Kitchen and we believe it is a perfect fit as our chosen charity. It’s local to our store and has been set up by a very determined individual, Meryl. I visited the soup kitchen last Thursday to speak to Meryl, the volunteers and some of their regulars and everyone was so complimentary about what a great impact it has had since it was started in January this year. It was very humbling and sharing the experience and news of our chosen charity with the rest of the team has even brought some interest from our colleagues on how they can volunteer as well!”
Southern Co-op’s new store at Brummell Road is home to an extensive food offer with a great choice of fresh and chilled foods including meat and fish, pizzas and ready meals. A food to go selection includes Italian Lavazza coffee to takeaway and an in-store bakery will bake loaves and pastries fresh every day. Southern Co-op is committed to British farmers and all the fresh meat it sells is 100 per cent British, including the meat used in Co-op’s own label sandwiches, snacks and ready meals. All strawberries and raspberries in store this summer will also be British and at their seasonal, delicious best.
‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ is Southern Co-op’s community engagement programme. This initiative addresses four key social themes, as identified by a survey of over 4,000 members and colleagues, for promoting: ‘Greener Neighbourhoods’, ‘Healthier Neighbourhoods’, ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’, and ‘More Inclusive Neighbourhoods’.
Charities and community groups can also apply for cash donations or goods in kind through the ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ scheme, which is funded by the 5p single-use carrier bag levy.
For more information on how to apply, please speak to your local store manager, or visit: http://www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/makingadifference/love-your-neighbourhood/.