Two different charities in Andover have received thousands of pounds worth of donations this week as a retail store closed its doors and donated its remaining stock to those in need.
Despite efforts to avoid closing The Co-operative Food in Charlton Road, Southern Co-op was unable to negotiate a new lease agreement and closed its doors last Wednesday [25 November].
The colleagues, who have accepted roles at nearby stores, have always been active in supporting the local community so wanted to make one last donation.
Rather than send the remaining stock to another Southern Co-op retail store to sell, colleagues donated all ten cages to the Andover Foodbank and the Augusta Park Community Association which will split the donations between the YMCA Nursery and Augusta Park Community Centre.
Claire Walker, Area Manager for Southern Co-op – the independent, regional co-operative, said:
Closing this store has been incredibly sad so we wanted to also end on a positive note.
Both of the local causes do a tremendous amount of good work in the community and have been supported by colleagues in Charlton Road and our store in East Anton Farm Road for some time now.
It was a pleasure to be able to donate so many cages of goods – food, household items, baby products and personal care such as toothpaste and toothbrushes. We hope they will make a big difference to people in the local community.
Andover Foodbank, in association with the Trussell Trust, has seen a significant rise in demand over the last few months including people who would never have thought they would need support.
Jenny LeLean, Community Manager at Andover Foodbank, said:
We have helped people who have been furloughed and have struggled on their reduced income, those that have lost jobs and others who weren’t paid for work done, families with new babies who couldn’t afford nappies or baby milk and families at risk of domestic violence.
Through this time, we have been helped by numerous individuals, organisations and companies who share our passion for supporting their community, including Southern Co-op’s Charlton Road store. The commitment by staff to this relationship has been fantastic.
We are sorry that they are going and wish all the staff well in their new roles. But even in closing their help continues. In donating some of their remaining stock, Southern Co-op will be supporting some of the most vulnerable families in our area.
This is our busiest time of year. As winter approaches and energy bills rise, people begin to make the choice of whether to heat or eat. Thanks to this donation, they can do both.
Augusta Park Community Association, which is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 12:30pm for food donations and collections, is organising a Christmas tree lights switch-on with Ravenna Lodge and the help of councillors Nick Matthews, Tracey Tasker and Kirsty North.
The event will take place this Saturday 5 December 2020 outside Ravenna Lodge at 6pm.
Mathieu Triquart, Chair of Augusta Park Community Association, said:
After the light switch on, the Community Centre will open its doors at 6.30pm for residents to enjoy a complimentary mulled wine and mince pie. During this time, residents will have the opportunity to collect some items from the food donation, kindly given to us from the Southern Co-op.
Augusta Park Community Association is extremely grateful for the donation received. With this large donation, we will be able to help people in need during this very difficult time and support the Andover Foodbank. I would like to give a huge thank you to Richard, Store Manager of the branch in East Anton Farm Road for his constant support and donations.
For more information on Southern Co-op’s commitment to support local communities, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/love-your-neighbourhood/.
Photo: Andover Foodbank