Co-op Stores Help Inspire by Stonehaven

By bellmannews / October 6, 2020

From Stewart Aitken, Coop Member Pioneer, Stonehaven –

The Inspire by Stonehaven shop team, on Allardice Street, have linked up with the local Stonehaven Co-op stores at Market Square and Kirkton Road to successfully apply to the Co-op’s Community Donation Fund.

The award of £500 has enabled the charity to purchase storage cages which were vital to the safe reopening of the shop.

Inspire By Stonehaven is a day service and charity shop enabling people with learning disabilities to lead fulfilling lives and be part of the Stonehaven community.

Inspire by Stonehaven Manager Patsy Telford said: “A key part of our work is having close working relationships with others. The Co-op are wonderful partners for Inspire and are always willing to help out when needed.

”It’s great having the local Co-op Member Pioneer, Stewart Aitken, to liaise with as a point of contact, which certainly oils communication between the two organisations.

”Opening up after the lockdown situation has posed many challenges and not least the storage of donations, which need to be quarantined for 72 hours before we can sort them.

”We needed a neat solution and approached the Co-op, through Stewart, to see if we could have any old goods delivery cages from a local store. He then liaised with the Co-op managers who could not spare any but would be willing to support an application for funding for us to buy brand new ones! The application was joint between two of the stores and was successful – resulting in an award of £500 to purchase them!

”The storage cages will enable us to keep the donations safe, neat, and organised during the quarantine period which is a great solution to the issue we had and enable the staff team and service users to continue to work in the shop safely.

”A massive thank you to the Co-op in Stonehaven for their generous support.”

Deryth Payne, Store Manager of Co-op Market Square, said: “It means a lot to the Co-op stores to support the work Inspire does in helping many individuals with learning disabilities receive tailored support.

”It is also a great cause for our Co-op to be involved in because we are a very community-based store, and this is a very community-based organisation and shop that helps so many people.”

Martin Hale, Store  Manager at Kirkton Road echoed Deryth’s words and added: “It is important that we continue to find ways to support members, community initiatives and organisations as this is at the heart of why the Co-op was first founded.”

Stewart Aitken, Co-op Member Pioneer for Stonehaven, said: “This partnership with Inspire by Stonehaven is one of many we have been developing over the past couple of years through our different avenues of support.

”The Community Donation Fund is designed for this type of project where a little bit of money can make a big difference. The challenges of reopening the Inspire shop and enabling the staff and service users to safely be there was significant as many have underlying health issues.

”So, when Patsy approached us about borrowing cages, I felt we could do more and that this was an ideal project for the fund. I was delighted that the two store managers were very happy to assist with an application. Partnership working all round for a successful outcome. We look forward to working with Inspire and other organisations in the future, through this and other Co-op resources and initiatives.”

The Inspire shop is open daily and, as well as providing much needed funds for the organisation’s work, it also provides many skills, work experience and social opportunities  for all the service users involved in its operation.  Opening times can be found on the Inspire by Stonehaven Facebook page.

Anyone interested in hearing more about the work of the Co-op in the community can contact Stewart Aitken, Member Pioneer for Stonehaven at

Picture are Co-op Store managers Deryth Payne (Market Square) and Martin Hale (Kirkton Road) with Inspire staff team member Julie Lawrence.