Updated: Tuesday, 29th July 2014 @ 6:06pm

Former England rugby star Austin Healey praises The Co-operative for raising £7 million for charity

Former England rugby star Austin Healey praises The Co-operative for raising £7 million for charity

By Jim Coldwell

Austin Healey was on hand as The Co-operative announced they have raised a mammoth £7m for Mencap and ENABLE Scotland today.

Hollyoaks’ stars Sarah Jayne Dunn and Darren Langford also attended the occasion held at New Century House in Manchester. 

The tremendous sum of money will help young people with a learning disability across the UK as part of The Co-operative’s Charity of the Year partnership with the two organisations.

Former England rugby player Healey praised the efforts of The Co-operative: “I just think they’re a brilliant business, they’re a real credit to the North West and the whole economy.”

Every penny raised will go towards the launch of Mencap and sister charity ENABLE Scotland’s new project ‘Inspire Me’, aimed at giving young people with learning disabilities the chance to gain new skills.

The ex-Leicester Tigers ace went on to commend the efforts of businesses up and down the country in their bid to support such a good cause.

“You travel the country and see all the hard work but very rarely see something on the scale of this, raising over £7m in times like this with people doing insane things just to make money to help young men and women around the country with learning disabilities, it’s inspirational.”

The Co-operative, which has a retail outlet in every UK postal code, has raised money in various ways including a Santa Dash, cycle rides, marathons and even a charity single.

Mark Goldring, Mencap’s Chief Executive, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support shown by everyone in The Co-operative Group, their fundraising efforts and generosity have made the partnership a great success.”

“I would like to thank the staff, members and customers for helping to raise such a fantastic sum of money.”

Peter Scott, ENABLE Scotland’s Chief Executive echoed Mr Goldring’s gratitude and explaining that the money will help thousands of young people build a brighter future.

Eight out of ten children with a learning disability are bullied according to Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative, Peter Marks, and the ‘Inspire Me’ project will work with local communities to change the negative attitudes to these young people.