Local Co-op continues support for refugees

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As the East of England Co-op marked the eightieth anniversary of the arrival of one hundred child refugees to Suffolk during the Spanish Civil War, the retailer has continued its support by donating £9,000 to local refugee charities across the region.

In 1937, the then Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society provided the one hundred children staying at Wherstead Park, now head office of the East of England Co-op, with free bread as well as educational and recreational activities including a trip to Felixstowe sea front. 

It is believed there are over 20million refugees displaced from their homes across the world, Suffolk Refugee Support, Essex integrations and Diocese of Norwich Refugee Appeal each received £3,000, helping them to support families rebuild their lives in our region. 

A commemorative plaque was unveiled at the eightieth anniversary event by Francisco Robles, on his return visit to the Georgian mansion at Wherstead Park in eighty years, since arriving as a child at the age of ten. 

Minnie Moll, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op, said: "As current owners of Wherstead Park we felt it only right to commemorate this special anniversary and recognise the local communities and businesses that played a vital role in providing care and support for the children that stayed here. 

"We're incredibly proud of our heritage and for the support the Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society provided the children, and are pleased that we're able to continue that support for refugees today."