TWO charities are each £5,000 better off following the success of a community support scheme run by The Southern Co-operative in Bishop’s Waltham.

A year ago, The Co-operative’s two stores in the town centre hosted a street party to launch a campaign to donate up to £5,000 each to Bishop's Waltham in Bloom and Swanmore Pre-school.

The stores’ retail business manager Marcus Preen presented the £10,000, explaining: “Whilst not costing our customers a penny to support, the success of this scheme relies on the backing of our customers, which we really appreciate. Also, the scheme’s recipient charities are decided by members of The Southern Co-operative who shop and work at our two stores here in Bishops Waltham, so this ensures that the funding directly benefits the local community.”

Debbie White, manager of Swanmore Pre-school said: “It is fantastic to receive £5,000 from The Southern Co-operative and will enable us to create a really nice all-weather quiet area outside for the children to enjoy year round.”

The pre-school provides education for 24 children per session during term time.

Bishop’s Waltham in Bloom undertakes many activities throughout the year to improve the appearance of the town while involving local people in this local project.

Martin Livermore, chairman of Bishop’s Waltham in Bloom, said: “We are run entirely by volunteers, with funds coming in as sponsorship for the flower beds, baskets and tubs.

“Personal donations and fund raising events together with a generous grant from the parish council are our only sources of funds and so the generosity of The Southern Co-operative store and its customers this year are hugely appreciated.

“We have an ongoing project to include more perennial plants in our beds and have a growing fund for the replacement of our van which is essential to the watering of our flowers in the summer.”