Former Tamworth supermarket site gets temporary new lease of life from local street artist as children’s charity move in
A former Central England Co-op supermarket earmarked for a major retail development is currently being utilised to support the work of a children’s charity – while also being given a makeover by a renowned local street artist.
The site in Ninian Way, Wilnecote is set to be transformed into a brand-new retail and trade destination creating hundreds of local jobs with the likes of Lidl, B&M, KFC and Starbucks signed up.
However, while preparatory work continues for the development the opportunity arose to utilise the former supermarket building to support the vital work of Newlife, the charity for disabled children, with urgently needed retail and ancillary storage space.
Alongside the charity’s offering of clothing for men, women and children, and with homeware lines at low prices, Central England Co-op has enlisted a street artist who lives a stones throw from the Ninian Way site to give it a makeover in the coming weeks.
Simon Wingfield, known as Wingy, is adapting graffiti that has found its way on to the empty store since its closure with locally significant designs, as well as promoting Newlife while it makes use of the site.
He said: “I live two minutes from the site and was an old customer so have kept an eye on the development since it closed. I’m a professional street artist working up and down the country working with councils and in education and I know how it gives communities a buzz when they see artwork go up to transform unloved spaces.
“I got in touch with Central England Co-op to offer my services as it’s a great opportunity for me to do what I do everywhere else but on my own doorstep to give it a bit of life. So far, I have done the Newlife logo to help promote what they are doing and with Tamworth’s close connections to the local regiment I’ve used that as an inspiration for some other artwork.
“Hopefully it will spark some interest in the local community, and they will appreciate the local significance of the work and find it something interesting to look at as they visit Newlife and walk past the site.”
Christian Gregory, Asset Manager at Central England Co-op, said the Society was delighted to work with Simon and to give vital support to Newlife, its former corporate charity partner.
He said: “While we prepare to bring the exciting new retail development to our former Ninian Way supermarket site, we are delighted to work with Simon who has such a connection to the area, to offer the space for his sensational street art.
“We are also happy to have the opportunity to support our former corporate charity Newlife who are utilising the vacant building as a short-term measure to provide them with much-needed retail and ancillary storage space to boost their vital work supporting disabled and terminally ill children in our communities.”
The temporary Newlife store will be open to the public from Thursday, 22 July and will then be open Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm and Sunday 11am-4pm.
Sheila Brown, CEO of Newlife, said: “This a fantastic opportunity to work with Central England Co-op and put a space to use that would be lying empty during this period – while at the same time offering clothes that would otherwise go to landfill a second chance at life. “This kind of recycling and repurposing is great for the environment and a great chance for shoppers to snap up bargains, while also helping disabled children receive the support they need. It's a win-win situation which can only benefit everyone involved."
The progress of ‘Wingy’s’ work on the Ninian Way site can be followed on his Instagram page at www.instagram.com/wingy.uk
Notes to editors
About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.
Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 7,800 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.
It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.
The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.
Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle
Phone - 01543 421390