CI Co-operative Society distributes 2013 Helping Hands funding for charities and community groups

June 27th, 2013 by The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Limited

Babies, toddlers and guinea pigs are amongst the recipients of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society’s Helping Hands initiative.

Helping Hands was set up to give local good causes a financial boost.

This year, 114 applications were received from youth groups, schools, church congregations, heritage and environmental organisations, social-welfare and health care providers and 28 such groups were selected to receive a share of the donations.

“As a local community retailer in the Channel Islands, we want to help as many local initiatives as possible, although it is an extremely difficult task to choose which recipients should receive support as each and every one is deserving,” said Chief Commercial Officer Jim Plumley.

“It is important for us to understand from the entries how the money will be used and what the benefit will be,” he said.

Amongst the recipients in Guernsey were St Sampson’s Baby and Toddler Group and Sarnia Guinea Pig Rescue.

Guinea pigs at Sarnia Guinea Pig Rescue (click image to expand - image courtesy of Leo Thomas)

Guinea pigs at Sarnia Guinea Pig Rescue (click image to expand – image courtesy of, and ©Leo Thomas)

“We are delighted to have been chosen by the Channel Islands Co-operative Society to be a recipient of funding,” said Angela Walden at St Sampson’s Baby and Toddler Group

“We started the baby and toddler group because of the long waiting lists for groups on the island. We wanted the group to be a place where parents, careers and grandparents could come with their preschoolers and meet others in the same situation,’ she said.

The group was launched in February 2013 and has opened every week since, with up to 70 children attending.

“When we started the group, we weren’t sure how many families to expect.”

“We have been overwhelmed with how popular the group has been and we are starting to see families regularly attend as well as new faces each group, which is great,” she said.

“The money kindly donated by Helping Hands had been used to buy more safety mats, replace the playhouse, and buy a bookstand and books to create a reading corner so that we can accommodate the growing numbers of youngsters,” Mrs. Walden said.

Helping Hands gives assistance to as many causes who qualify across the community as possible, rather than making larger single donations to a few.

It reflects the Society’s underlying principles of co-operative trade where profits not only remain in the Channel Islands to be reinvested but a proportion are given to a wide range of community initiatives.

Guinea pigs at Sarnia Guinea Pig Rescue (click image to expand - image courtesy of Leo Thomas)

Guinea pigs at Sarnia Guinea Pig Rescue (click image to expand – image courtesy of, and ©Leo Thomas)

Another recipient in Guernsey was Sarnia Guinea Pig Rescue. The home has been open for six months and currently houses 72 guinea pigs, with the aim of re-homing as many as possible.

“We were absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as one of the recipients of the Helping Hands Fund,” said Leo Thomas at Sarnia Guinea pig rescue.

“I have always been guinea pig mad and saw there was demand for a rescue centre in Guernsey,” Mr. Thomas said.

“The most common reasons for guinea pigs to be given to us is that the owners don’t know how to look after them, children have become bored of them or they have had unwanted litters,” he said.

“Thanks to the Co-op’s generous donation, we have been able to buy an indoor pen, which will be used as an intensive care unit for pregnant females and those who require extra care.”

“We will also be buying more hutches, allowing us to house 12 more rescued guinea pigs,” Mr Thomas said.

The annual Helping Hands funding programme operates across both Jersey and Guernsey with over £16,000 being awarded to 28 Channel Island charities and community groups. Of the money paid out, over £9,000 went to Jersey organisations and £7,000 went to those in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.


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