Purbrook mum is on a mission to help local families in need

After collecting stacks of donated uniforms to help struggling families, a Widley funeral co-ordinator is now turning her hand to food donations.

Linda Docherty has been working at Southern Co-op for over two years and recently moved to its branch of The Co-operative Funeralcare in Widley.

She had barely got her feet under the table before she started encouraging local groups to apply for funding available which led to Purbrook Mother and Toddler Group receiving a £500 donation.

In a thank you letter to Linda, the group said it will help towards rent, insurance, equipment and snack costs and enable them to keep running the group for local families for many months to come.

But Linda wasn’t content and soon paired up with Care and Share Waterlooville – a drop off/pick up point in Waterlooville for essential items that people struggle to afford in difficult times.

Rachel and Jamie from Care and Share Waterlooville said: “Thanks to Linda at the Widley branch of The Co-operative Funeralcare, she helped us at a time when we were super busy with our normal workload of help bank requests by becoming a drop off point for used and new school uniforms.

“The uniform items kindly delivered to us by Linda have been made available for families with children struggling, not just to afford the items, but also to find them with shops and local outlets running out of many items during the post COVID-19/Brexit driver shortage.”

Linda has now turned her attention to food and has set up a donation point in the branch in London Road to make it easy for people to drop off in the local area.

Linda, 54, said: “What an absolute achievement the uniform donations have been. People actually went out and bought uniforms to donate them.

“Being Purbrook born and bred, I want nothing more than to help those less fortunate than myself. I have been less fortunate than others as a single mum of three – now with two grandchildren.

“When you’ve been there and been in that situation then you know what it’s like not to have enough money for uniform or not enough food in the cupboards.

“Working for Southern Co-op has given me more of an opportunity and it’s the icing on the cake that the co-operative like you to help your community. People are always behind me whatever I have come up with which is amazing and I hope it is bringing some life back into Widley.”

Care and Share Waterlooville is currently looking for donations of tinned beans and sausages, hot dog sausages, coffee, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, washing up liquid, bleach and scouring pads. All donations are gratefully received.

To get in touch with Care and Share Waterlooville regarding support, email careandsharewaterlooville@outlook.com or via its Facebook page www.facebook.com/Care-and-Share-Waterlooville-107127284558223.

Or for more information on funding from Southern Co-op’s Love Your Neighbourhood programme, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/love-your-neighbourhood/.