One year on- how has the 5p plastic bag charge benefited Sheffield charities?

Baby Ezra being treated at Sheffield Children's Hospital. Credit: Moralee family / Magnolia House
Baby Ezra being treated at Sheffield Children's Hospital. Credit: Moralee family / Magnolia House
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Charities and community groups in Sheffield have received more than £80,000 since the 5p charge for all single-use plastic bags was brought into force for stores with at least 250 employees one year ago today.

Sheffield’s Sick Children’s Trust said they ‘couldn’t be more grateful’ for receiving £1,577 raised by the plastic bag charge from Sainsbury’s.

The donation will help with the running costs of Treetop and Magnolia Houses which support families with children being treated at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Deborah and Chris Moralee stayed in Magnolia House on the hospital site for 11 days in May this year while their three-week-old son Ezra had specialist treatment for an abscess on his neck after suffering from lymphadenitis, an infection of the lymph nodes.

The couple, who live in Bradford, were given a twin room with a phone that nurses on the ward rang whenever Ezra woke up in need of a feed.

Deborah said: “That was what was so important to me, giving him what he needed, still being able to breastfeed and have that important bond as a first-time mum.”

Ezra Moralee back at home after being treated at Sheffield Children's Hospital. Credit: Moralee family / Magnolia House

Ezra Moralee back at home after being treated at Sheffield Children's Hospital. Credit: Moralee family / Magnolia House

She believes Ezra recovered so well because Magnolia House made sure ‘he wasn’t fighting his plight alone’.

Magnolia House Manager, Ann Wyatt, said: “When a child is seriously ill it’s an incredibly difficult time.

“It costs the charity £30 per night to support a family, so we couldn’t be more grateful to Sainsbury’s for donating their 5p carrier bag charge to us.

“This money will make a significant difference to families who have seriously ill children at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and will help them stay close to their sick child’s bedside at the most worrying times.”

Deborah and Chris Moralee with their children, baby Ezra and older brother Denver. Credit: Moralee family / Magnolia House

Deborah and Chris Moralee with their children, baby Ezra and older brother Denver. Credit: Moralee family / Magnolia House

Ten other charities in Sheffield had £1,577 donated by Sainsbury’s including Sheffield Mind, Sheffield Support Dogs, Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, The Sheffield Cats Shelter and Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre.

Other big supermarkets have also been helping local causes.

Six Sheffield community schemes received grants from Tesco totalling £60,000.

The Steel Inn, owned by the Manor and Castle Development Trust, provides activities and clubs for young people who are at risk of exclusion from school as well as those with learning difficulties.

They used a £10,000 grant from Tesco to create a new paving area outside the building, allowing the children to play football and providing an area to hold future fundraisers.

The Merlin Theatre in Nether Edge, which closed after severe flooding in 2011, are using their £8,000 grant to renovate their community garden.

Children from the Freeman College and Brantwood Specialist School, who own the community theatre, will help to build a lit-up water feature and rockery.

The Co-op have launched a donation scheme where 1 per cent of the cost of members’ purchases of Co-op own-brand products is donated to more than 100 causes and groups in Sheffield.

Co-op will combine this donation with money from the plastic bag charge and expect to give a total of £150,000 to causes in Sheffield over the next six months.

Results are in the bag

Ninety per cent of people in England now take their own bags with them when food shopping as a result of the plastic carrier bag charge, new research from Cardiff University has revealed.

Professor Wouter Poortinga, who led the research, said: “Overall, our research has shown that the English carrier bag charge has had a strong and positive impact on people’s attitudes and behaviours and that it successfully disrupted people using plastic bags.”

Just over half a billion single-use carrier bags were sold by the UK’s seven largest retailers from October 2015 to April 2016, compared with 7.6 billion for the full calendar year of 2014.

At least £29.2million has been donated to good causes across the UK since the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in England.

Asda is donating all of its first year of carrier bag money, £6million, to support the build of a new dementia centre in London.

The Morrisons Foundation is partly funded by the plastic bag charge and donated £9,140 to the Rotherham United Community Sports Trust which offers respite activity sessions for carers.

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