CHILDREN from low income families living in the Cotswolds will benefit from a boost in support after The Midcounties Co-operative donated over £4,000 to two local charities aiming to tackle rural poverty.

More than £2,000 was donated to Thrive North-Ox, a Chipping Norton charity that aims to reduce child poverty in the region by providing essential items including toiletries and clothing to families who need it most.

The donation, which was raised through the 5p carrier bag charge, will enable the charity to support more families in the Cotswolds and provide them with key essentials in preparation for winter.

The same amount was fundraised for Cotswold Community Awareness. The charity similarly works against rural poverty and supports families experiencing financial hardship through its network of health visitors and parent support advisers.

Andrea Ratcliffe, Founding Member at Thrive North-Ox, said: “When The Midcounties Co-operative contacted us with the news that we had been chosen to receive the donations from their plastic carrier bag charity fund, we felt incredibly lucky.

“Thrive North-Ox has been operational for over two years and we have been working hard to bridge the gap for local low income families who have been privately struggling to provide basic, essential items for their children.”

Imogen Joss, Chair of the Trustees of Cotswold Community Awareness, said: “It is a shocking fact that children can go without necessities like a bed to sleep in, nutritious food and winter clothes. We aim to provide emergency support to families in urgent need through a network of recognised agencies such as local health workers, teachers and social workers. They tell us the need and we provide the funding for the solution.

“We operate on an entirely voluntary basis and at least 97% of donations go directly to helping the children and their families, so support like this donation from Midcounties makes a huge and very real difference.”

Sian Lewis, a Leadership Team Ambassador in Chipping Norton, said: “Poverty affects one in four children in the UK today. Thousands of children in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire are growing up without access to basic, necessary items which is why we decided to donate the funds to Thrive North-Ox and Cotswold Community Awareness.

“We’re proud to have been able to raise this money and hope that it can make a difference to low income families that are struggling.”

The carrier bag fund forms part of The Midcounties Co-operative Regional Community strategy, which sees colleagues and residents come together to support local causes.