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Pharmacy pledges to give money to food bank amid free school meals row

An independent community pharmacy has pledged to give this week’s earnings to Coventry Foodbank to support families affected by the lack of free school meals over half-term.

Vantage Chemist, a family-owned pharmacy based in Coventry, announced the initiative on its Facebook page earlier this week (Monday 26).

“With the loss of free school meals support for this half-term week, especially in these most difficult of times, we at Vantage can’t let our local community suffer like this,” it wrote.

The pharmacy pledged to “donate the proceeds of our takings this week to Coventry Foodbank” and to offer a 30% discount on essential items “such as children’s medication, cold and flu remedies and toiletries to any family that claims #freeschoolmeals with income support or universal credits”.

The pharmacy has also launched crowdfunding for Coventry Foodbank on Facebook.

£1,000 by end of week

As of yesterday (October 27),  Vantage Chemist had raised £240 through crowdfunding on Facebook, but owner and superintendent pharmacist Gurbaksh Singh told C+D  that, with the addition of the pharmacy’s proceeds, he hopes to have raised £1,000 for the food bank by the end of the week.

“Our local community is in an impoverished area, so if we can help children thrive, it will help [improve] things in the future,” Mr Singh said. He explained that the initiative was launched after Conservative MPs last week (October 21) defeated Labour’s proposal to extend free school meals during school holidays until Easter 2021 in a vote in parliament.

“The community is the main part of our role; we [want to help] the local population here. In a modern world, I think some people forget that we’re here to look after our community,” Mr Singh added. He spoke about his initiative with local GP surgeries, who he said were “all very excited about it”.

Mr Singh also raised awareness of it with the Coventry local pharmaceutical committee (LPC), which shared the pharmacy’s post on its Facebook page.

Commenting on Mr Singh’s initiative, Coventry, Warwickshire and Herefordshire, and Worcestershire LPCs CEO Fiona Lowe told C+D yesterday that: “Vantage Chemist has gone the extra mile to support local communities with donations for the food bank.”

The organisation is proud of community pharmacies in Coventry, who have “all worked so hard throughout COVID-19 and continue to do so”, she added.

Have you started similar initiatives in support of your local community?

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