Family store puts local children first

Pupils across the Blackmore Vale are celebrating after fund-raising at Dikes of Stalbridge has brought them a huge cash boost for their schools.
Stalbridge Primary school is the latest to benefit, with a £1,000 cheque from the independent supermarkets managing director Andy Dike last week. The money was raised through the sale of the stores reusable jute shopping bags. This is the schools second windfall €œ £1 collected from the sale of each bag last year raised a similar sum.
St Gregorys School, Marnhull, which is trying to raise enough to renovate its school pool in time for next summer, has also received a cheque from Dike & Son after winning the stores online poll, where the public could vote for their favourite local good cause to win £500.
Meanwhile Future Roots, a farm-based learning project near Sherborne, has received its first tranche of funding from Dikes to enable primary school visits to educate children about rural skills, farming and the environment.
This money for good causes is being raised through the award-winning stores participation in the NISA Making a Difference Locally (MADL) campaign. When customers buy specially marked products in-store, the manufacturer donates a small sum to the funding pot.
It may only be pennies, but it soon adds up. Dike & Son has already paid out £2,500 to Dorset childrens hospice Julias House and £2,000 to local Riding for the Disabled Association groups.
Andy Dike, together with his mother Deirdre, wife Victoria and their three children, went to see the work being done at Rylands Farm near Sherborne during half term, where they presented Future Roots director Julie Plumley with a cheque for £1,000.
The funding has enabled the farm to run activities during the week for pupils from Shillingstone, Child Okeford and William Barnes primary schools, among others.
As well as school visits the money will buy an incubator which schools will be able to borrow to hatch out chicks in the classroom as part of a learning programme.
Andy Dike said: I have the greatest respect for the people who give their time here at Rylands Farm. In these uncertain times, when funding has been withdrawn in lots of areas, it is vital for the community to step in with support for local schools and other projects such as Future Roots. Our customers are the real champions, as they have helped us to raise thousands of pounds for these very deserving projects.
Julie Plumley said: We are so glad Dikes has helped us to invite more children here. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to visit the farm and the countryside. For a lot of young people its about learning to enjoy and respect animals and the countryside, while finding out about where their food comes from.
Dike & Son, which has been owned by the same family for five generations, recently won the Nisa 2011 Awards for Excellence €œ Making a Difference Locally in recognition of its vigorous fund-raising, and was last week named as a finalist in the Dorset Business Awards Business Engagement with the Community Award.
The current Dike & Son online poll is between Sherborne Youth Band, Henstridge Church and Stalbridge Youth Football Club, who are battling it out for the next £500 award. To cast your vote visit www.welovedorsetfood.co.uk

St Gregorys Primary School: Members of the school council with Andy Dike and head teacher Mrs Wise receiving a cheque for £500 from Andy Dike after winning the online poll.

Stalbridge Primary School: head teacher Mr Allen brought pupils up to the cafƒ© at Dikes to receive a cheque for £1,000 through the sale of the stores jute bags.

Future Roots: Deirdre Dike and her son Andy present Julie Plumley with a cheque for £1,000 at Rylands Farm near Sherborne.

Contact Victoria McManus, Dike & Son marketing on 07968 454904 or Adam Vincent, Dike & Son Store Manager on 01963 362204 for more information or visit http://www.welovedorsetfood.co.uk

For information on MADL visit www.makingadifferencelocally.com

Notes:
The MADL charity was formed in May 2008 by Nisa-Todays, with the intention of assisting more than 2,000 independent retailers throughout the UK with raising money for their local communities. The charity works by allocating a specified amount of the cost of certain products promoted in-store to the retailers MADL charity fund.
Nisa-Todays is the UK's leading member-owned organisation, providing benefits to independent retailers and wholesalers in food and drink markets.