St Mary’s Surgery, in Timsbury was another medical centre to benefit from Radstock Co-operative’s distribution of the ‘Carrier Bag Charging Levy’. The levy was introduced in October 2015 and requires retailers to charge 5p for all single-use plastic carrier bags and to donate the sales-proceeds to good causes.
The Society reached out to its stakeholders to solicit views as to where the funds raised should be directed. A popular theme that seemed to resonate with members was support for local community health provision. Many Co-operatives historically provided financial support to hospitals and health institutes prior to the introduction of the National Health Service, so it was fitting that Radstock Co-operative decided to direct financial support towards cash-strapped community hospital, health centres and surgeries within its trading areas.
A spokesperson for the Society said, “We empathise with the challenges faced by several community hospitals and doctors’ surgeries in meeting the ever-growing demands of local community health needs with diminishing budgets. Often, there is insufficient supply of small, portable equipment to monitor patients’ health conditions and existing equipment is in desperate need of replacement. The Carrier Bag charging initiative has enabled us, the retailer, to determine which community causes should benefit. Our Timsbury store has been part of the local community for over one hundred years and is an important part of village life for many residents. Many of our colleagues, customers and members have benefitted from the care service provided by the local medical practice. We are pleased that we are able to donate £1,000 to St Mary’s surgery.”
Dr Chris Lewis of St Mary’s surgery said “We’re immensely grateful to the Cooperative Society and its customers for their generosity. It’s a great privilege to care for the patients in this community, so it’s wonderful to receive a donation from our local Cooperative. We’re planning on using the money to purchase equipment that will allow patients to check their own height, weight and blood pressure in the Surgery waiting area. High blood pressure and obesity are risk factors for many serious diseases, so allowing patients to monitor these things for themselves will help us to work in partnership to keep our villages healthy.”