Winners of Business in the Community Awards

The hard work and dedication of funeral colleagues on the Isle of Wight were recognised on Friday 30 November at the IW Chamber Business Awards.

Southern Co-op’s funeral colleagues and Freshwater retail store were both shortlisted for the special awards which brought businesses together from across the island.

Hosted by TV broadcaster Anneka Rice, the awards ceremony was held at Cowes Yacht Haven.

Anneka Rice told the crowd: “As we all know, the Isle of Wight is a brilliant place to live, work and to do business. This year is without doubt our biggest ever Business Awards. The number of entries doubled this year so it’s been a tough battle to get here tonight.

“Being in this room already means your organisation is one of the brightest, most successful businesses on the Isle of Wight.”

The funeralcare side of Southern Co-op first started on the Isle of Wight in November 2011 with three branches opening in Shanklin, Lake and Newport. Three further branches opened in 2012 and 2013 in Freshwater, East Cowes and Ryde.

Each of them has got behind their dedicated charity for the year and they have held countless events and raffles to raise money for these local causes.

From February to September, they had already raised a total of £3,096.48 for their charity partners. And, due to their hard work during Southern Co-op’s Charity Awareness Month in July, the branches’ causes were rewarded with a bonus of £10,000.

But the funeral co-ordinators didn’t rest on their laurels as they have continued to carry out fundraisers for these charities as well as other good causes across the Isle of Wight.

From February to September, they raised just under £16,000. They have also done more than 250 hours of volunteering and community engagement.

When Samantha Whittingham, Chief Executive of The Phoenix Project, was asked what difference it is making to them by being a charity partner, she spoke about the funding which has meant they could buy new sensory equipment which is used everyday and enabling them to buy a minibus. But the value was more than just financial. She said the funeral co-ordinators have also helped to raise the profile of their organisation. In fact, one of their trustees saw the funeral co-ordinators supporting the charity at the Wolverton Manor Fair and commented that, if he hadn’t already been involved, he would have signed up there and then.

To find out more about Southern Co-op funeralcare, click here.