Sweet idea helps feed vulnerable people, crime victims and police in Rugby
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Two enterprising PCSOs dreamed up a mouth-watering idea to keep Rugby Police officers sweet.
Rugby PCSOs Joanne Jackson and Samantha Goode are also helping children and victims of crime with their tuck shop.
They set it up at the town’s police station to give officers a sugar lift when they needed it.
From the start it was set up as a non-profit, with proceeds being invested directly into buying more stock and donating to local charities.
PCSO Jackson said: “Officers work long shifts and they don’t always have chance to get a full meal on duty. So it all started out as a way for the team to pick up some chocolate, crisps or pop as a bit of a lift.
“From the start we’d hoped to raise a little money for charity, but we had absolutely no idea how well it was going to do.
“This was during the pandemic, and with supermarkets being restricted, we were quickly asked if we could start doing other items like frozen meals and rice packets. Officers were struggling with doing a 12+ hour shift and then having to go and queue in long lines at the supermarkets to get some dinner.”
But the treats are not just for the enjoyment of the police.
PCSO Jackson went on: “When we have vulnerable people and victims, especially children, coming to the station for help we’ll give them treats from the tuck shop.
“This might sound silly, but it makes a huge difference.
“Children and young victims might have spent weeks, months or even years in horrible situations and they might be wary of being brought to a police station.
“Sorting out a can of pop and some sweets for them is one of the ways we can show them some kindness and to remind them that they are cared about and valued.
“We are able to have this constant supply of items for vulnerable people because officers are effectively subsidising it with their own purchases.”
Since being set up, the tuck shop has grown beyond the expectations of PCSOs Jackson and Goode and, as of January, they have been able to donate more than £4,000 to local charities from the proceeds.
The rest of the money was directly invested in getting more stock. Both PCSOs acquire the stock and keep the tuck shop running in their own time and using their own vehicles.
And the enterprise was further boosted when Amazon heard about the enterprise and donated a large fridge, like the type seen in shops, to make way for more capacity.
PCSO Jackson said: “That was brilliant, and they even arranged to have it PAT tested so it met all the regulations.
“Ultimately, I just want to thank everyone – inside the police and in the community – for their support with this.
“We’re not going to stop loving snacks any time soon so please be assured that the donations will keep coming!”