The Southern Co-operative has pledged to donate £12,000 to St Nicholas’
Church and £8,000 to Home Start Meon Valley if the scheme, which was launched at Wickham Christmas Lights switch-on (Wed 3 December), is successful over the year ahead. Deputy Manager Sam Freemantle, explained:
“We’re asking Wickham community to get behind our community support scheme to make it as successful as last year’s. It doesn’t cost shoppers a penny to support; they simply need to have their membership card for The Southern Co-operative swiped each time they shop at the store. The more they shop at the store, the quicker The Southern Co-operative donates to the scheme; it’s that simple!”
Robert Goulson, Church Warden at St Nicholas’ Church, said: “There has been a place of worship on the St Nicholas site since 1120 which means that we celebrate the 900th anniversary in six year’s time! The Southern Co-operative Community Support donation will accelerate our aspiration to re-lay the floor of deteriorating concrete in the North Transept with flagstones to match the rest of the church and create a more usable space for the community. Everyone in Wickham comes to St Nicholas at some point; for services, with school, to a wedding or baptism or, sadly, a funeral, to feast days and concerts in the place where the people of Wickham have been worshipping for nine centuries. We are both thrilled and grateful to be beneficiaries and hope everyone in the village will be encouraged to support the scheme for their own beautiful church and the work of Home Start.”
Home Start Meon Valley’s Funding Support Officer, Tracy Micklethwaite,
added: “Home Start Meon Valley is absolutely delighted to have been chosen as one of the recipients of The Southern Co-operative’s new Community Support scheme in Wickham. The funding will support our organisations core function of providing 1-1 volunteer support, practical help and friendship for disadvantaged families living in Wickham and throughout the Meon Valley. It provides recognition for our current team of dedicated staff and volunteers and future security for our important work to continue and grow.
In this rural location there are limited community services and the unique Home Start Service is offering personalised family support and reaching out to the most vulnerable sectors of the community – those at risk from social exclusion and those who do not engage with mainstream services. The funding will enable us to recruit and train more volunteers from the local community to then offer 1-1 support within the home or in support groups and enable parents to give their children the best possible start in life.
This will make an enormous difference to local adults and children suffering the effects of social and economic deprivation, disability and mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence, or parents simply struggling to cope with multiple children under 5 years and the pressures of modern society.
Tracy added: “By supporting more families at home where life begins; we can help strengthen the family unit, increase parental confidence and help them to develop coping strategies. Children will feel more secure, happy, and a stable childhood will enable them to achieve their full potential, eventually contributing positively to the community and society. We would encourage everyone, including all our local supporters to use The Southern Co-operative in Wickham and help us to raise funds for local disadvantaged families in your area.”
The store’s Deputy Manager, Sam, said; “Locals are always so supportive of our fundraising and community activities at the store, so I’m sure this will be a real success again. If you’re not a member of The Southern Co-operative, do ask in store about this; as well as supporting this scheme, members get other benefits including a share of the profits each year as we’re a co-operative, and can join trips to visit local producers, for example.”