Community News From Around Our Area

Abbey Theatre Lands Surprise Windfall Thanks to Heart of England Co-Operative Society Customers

Three good causes in Nuneaton have been awarded a share of £5,000 thanks to shoppers at the Heart of England Co-operative Society.

Abbey Theatre was awarded £2,500, Age UK received £1,500 and Brandon Live was awarded £1,000 – all from carrier bag sales at Society food stores in Attleborough, Camp Hill, Galley Common and Bulkington.

Tony Deeming, Chairman of the Nuneaton Arts Council, said the money for Abbey Theatre had come as a welcome surprise although it was not yet known how the cash would be spent.

Celebrating 50 years this year, the Nuneaton Arts Council was established by a group of local arts enthusiasts in the wake of declining entertainment venues in the town. They transformed the former Territorial Army drill hall into a venue which could be used for all aspects of the arts, and Abbey Theatre was the result. Although since that time the theatre has fended off two threats of closure, over the years it has been well supported by the Nuneaton community.

In 2018 almost 40,000 people came through its doors to watch 160 performances. Tony said, “The Nuneaton Arts Council would like to thank all those shoppers who chose to support us at the Abbey Theatre, and we will endeavour to put the unexpected grant monies to good use.”

The Heart of England Co-operative Society is among thousands of retailers operating a government levy to reduce damage to the environment. Government statistics show that in 2014 customers used more than 7.6 billion single-use bags, equating to 61,000 tonnes, or 140 bags for every person in Britain.

After the levy was introduced in 2015 sales of the bags in major supermarkets fell by 86 per cent, equating to just 19 bags per person, in 2016/17. By 2018 the number of bags sold had further fallen, with 1.75 billion sold during the year.