Birmingham Central England Co-op store teams up with hospital charity to produce special postcard for patients

Patients at a Birmingham hospital unable to have visitors due to the current restrictions around Coronavirus will be able to send a special postcard home thanks to a young Central England Co-op shopper.

The retailer’s Marsh Lane Food Store in Erdington teamed up with Heartlands Hospital Charity to run a competition in local stores for children to help come up with a special design for the postcard.

The winning entry was by nine-year-old Erin, a customer at the retailer’s Vicarage Road store in Kings Heath, and Marsh Lane Store Manager Dan Goodby and his colleagues have now had 4,000 printed and donated to the hospital to start giving out to patients.

Dan said the store had begun fundraising for Heartlands Hospital last year and through that relationship the idea for the postcard competition came about.

He said: “When everything started to happen with the Coronavirus situation, as we had that existing relationship with the Heartlands Hospital Charity we got in touch and asked if there was anything we could do.

“They wanted things that patients could do on the wards while they were stuck in hospital and unable to have visitors because of the necessary restrictions.

“We managed to source 250 adult colouring books and pencils, but they also wanted postcards, so patients could write home to friends and families to keep themselves busy and in touch.

“So, we thought why not get our young customers involved in coming up with a design and my Dad, who works for John Price Printers in Birmingham, offered to get the winning design printed into postcards. We are delighted with how they’ve turned out and hope patients like them.”

Dan and colleagues visited the Bordesley Green hospital to deliver the finished postcards and colouring books as well as a cheque for £500 raised through in-store fundraising and 50 goody bags produced thanks to funding from Central England Co-op’s Western Membership and Community Council.

Dan added: “As a store we feel very passionately about supporting Heartlands Hospital. Some of our colleagues have personal reasons for wanting to support them and we were delighted to be able to go up there and hopefully spread a little joy.

“It has also taken our colleagues’ mind off what’s happening as it has been a challenging couple of months, so it has been a good boost for morale doing something positive for the hospital.”

Sian Averill, Fundraising Manager at Heartlands Hospital Charity, said: “On behalf of all of our patients at Heartlands Hospital I would like to thank everyone from the Marsh Lane Co-op, and Central England Co-op for their incredible support at this difficult time.

“It is never easy being in hospital, but it is especially difficult at a time when our patients cannot receive visits from their loved ones. These beautiful postcards will allow our patients to send a note to their loved one, helping them to keep in contact and keep their spirits up.

“The donation of colouring books, goody bags, and of course the donation of £500 will make a huge difference to our patients.

“Huge thanks goes to everyone who has made this possible. Together, we can make this difficult situation easier for our patients and staff.”

Central England Co-op is currently offering a 10% discount for all NHS workers to say thank you for their efforts working on the frontline to help tackle the Coronavirus.

All NHS workers visiting any Central England Co-op store have to do is show their ID card to receive 10% off all food and other essentials and to get priority access by moving to the front of any external queue when waiting to enter.

People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local community by visiting a dedicated online hub at


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

Our 7,900 colleagues serving our Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

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