Inspiring examples of people #beingcoopy this festive season

Posted by Rob Smyth | 12/12/2017 | Category: Community

Central England Co-op is invested in making a difference everywhere we have stores and homes.This Christmas one of the ways we are focused on this was by launching our #beingcoopy campaign.

We have worked with our colleagues, customers and members to give something back to people who go above and beyond to make a difference for all those around them.

The campaign has included giving away 10,000 golden stockings to say ‘thank you’ to people who make a difference in their communities, a renewed effort to drive up foodbank donations to help those need as well as plenty of volunteering opportunities to give a little back.

The following stories shine a light on this great campaign and how we can all play a part in making a difference.

Poorly youngsters in hospital get a Christmas Day boost in Leicester thanks to donation of £7,000 and hundreds of toys

Kind-hearted Central England Co-operative customers, members and colleagues have donated over £7,000 worth of funds and toys to put smiles on the faces of children in hospital this Christmas.

The team at the Society’s Groby Road food store have been working with the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) Children's Ward for several years.

Team Leader Michelle Smith has been a driving force in raising money throughout the year for the Children’s Ward as well as collecting trolleys full of toys that will be given to youngsters and their siblings who find themselves in hospital on Christmas Day.

This year, the team, working with colleagues from Hallam Crescent food store, have raised over £7,000 and collected over 500 toys which they handed over as part of a special presentation.

Michelle said: “On behalf of everyone who donated and helped out, I want to say a big thank you for raising this amazing total and collecting all of the great gifts for youngsters who find themselves in hospital over Christmas.

“The work undertaken by the LRI Children’s Ward is very close to all of our hearts and this is why we are so passionate about raising funds for such a good cause.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our customers and members and their willingness to go out of their way to support our fund-raising and toy collecting.

“There is no better feeling than heading up to the hospital and seeing the smiles that these donations bring to the faces of poorly girls and boys - it really is priceless and showcases perfectly how at Central England Co-op we work to bring the community together to help those in need.”

A range of events were organised across the year to raise funds including a coffee and cake morning and sponsored silence.

As well as boosting the spirits of children and staff of the LRI Children’s Ward, money will also be raised for Dementia UK, Central England Co-op’s corporate charity.

Sally Markley, Play Co-ordinator for University Hospitals of Leicester Children’s Hospital, said: “I would like to say a very big thank you to Central England Co-operative for thinking of us at Christmas time on behalf of our patients, their families and our staff.

“We are always busy throughout the year but the run up to Christmas is our busiest time of the year. We have lots of poorly children and families who are desperate to get home for Christmas; however we try to ensure that those who cannot get home have a special time with us.

 “We are extremely grateful for the time and effort you have put into fundraising – we see first-hand how it helps make Christmas in hospital much more special for the babies, children, young people and their families.

“Your efforts will ensure that every child in hospital on Christmas Day receives a sack of presents from Santa who visits the wards early on Christmas morning.”

Christmas #beingcoopy stocking appeal is a big hit!

Here are some great examples who we have said 'thank you' to this Christmas in the form of a Christmas golden stocking.

Jane Baker, from Ashbourne

Jane and her son, who were surprised with a Golden Stocking at home on Saturday.

Jane makes her community a better place by always looking out for others and finding helpful and innovative ways to make life just that little bit better for everyone.

A voluntary member of the pre-school board of trustees at the local charity run pre-school - despite her children having left pre-school many years ago. Jane also works closely with the local primary school to make transition easier for children with special educational needs. 

In addition, Jane runs a ‘pop up café’ every Tuesday morning in her home village, where she and her sister serve tea, coffee and cakes.  This is a real lifeline for the elderly and young mums who rarely get out and about.  Proceeds are ploughed back into pre-school and the church.

On receiving her stocking Jane was overwhelmed, stating “wow, thank you, I’m so thrilled, but surely there are more deserving people than me”.   

Rachel Wild, from Derby

Rachel and her three children. 

As a single mum with three children and suffering from ill health herself, Rachel has had plenty to contend with over recent years. 

When Rachel’s local special educational needs support group was closed by Derby City Council 2 years ago, Rachel felt so strongly that it was needed that she and her friend decided to take it on. 

Now running as ‘Tegan’s Butterflies in Paradise’, the group meet monthly to support families with pre-school aged children with downes syndrome and autism.   When not offering much needed support and influencing local care workers and health visitors to attend sessions, Rachel is busy fundraising to make sure the group can continue to survive and help others like her. 

Rachel was touched to be recognised with a golden stocking, posting on Facebook that this recognition was for her friends and her family too, who make it possible for her to support others in need.

Disabled youngsters handed early Christmas gift of £2,000 worth of toys and presents thanks to funeral director

Central England Co-operative Funeralcare has teamed up with Rainbows Hospice to ensure Christmas comes early - by donating £2,000 worth of toys and gifts to bring smiles to the faces of youngsters living with disabilities and life-limiting conditions.

Colleagues at Swanns Funeral Service, which is part of Central England Co-operative, decided to act after seeing that the popular Loughborough hospice had put together a special wishlist of items needed to support children and their families this Christmas.

So the team from the funeral home in Bridge Street jumped into their Santa’s sleigh and visited the hospice, in Lark Rise, to hand deliver hundreds of gifts just in time for the big day.

Some of the presents unwrapped by youngsters included everything from remote controlled dinosaurs and an ice cream maker to special lights and toys set to be used in the onsite sensory room including a glow in the dark unicorn and turtle.

Funeral Director Neil Finn said: “The work that the team at Rainbows undertakes every day is quite simply amazing and the impact they have on youngsters and their families is vital.

“We are proud to be part of the local community and when we heard about Rainbow’s special wishlist we knew that we had to help out as part of our #beingcoopy campaign.”

This Christmas, Central England Co-operative has set about bringing festive joy to communities as part of its #beingcoopy campaign.

This has included giving away 10,000 golden stockings to say ‘thank you’ to people who make a difference in their communities, a renewed effort to drive up foodbank donations to help those need as well as plenty of volunteering opportunities to give a little back.

Mr Finn added: “Everyone involved with our funeral home is proud to have been able to handover £2,000 worth of toys and gifts for youngsters who visit the hospice this Christmas and in the future.

“There is no better feeling than heading up to the hospice and seeing the smiles that these toys and gifts bring to the faces of young girls and boys - it really is priceless and showcases perfectly how at Central England Co-op we work to bring the community together to help those in need.”

Rainbows Hospice was launched in 1994 and is the only hospice in the East Midlands for children and young people.

The hospice offers a place where life-limited children and their families can find care and support through specialist respite, palliative and end of life care.

The site has 14 beds and aims to provide one on one care on a need led basis to help relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and support parents and their siblings.

Gary Farnfield, Community Fundraiser at Rainbows Hospice, said: “All of these presents are from our wishlist and have been handpicked for all of our children.

“This is a fantastic and generous donation and all at Rainbows would like to thank everyone from Swanns Funeral Service and Central England Co-operative.”

Central England Co-op donates winter coats for the homeless

Central England Co-op is donating 280 winter coats to homeless charities in the Midlands area, so they can be given to people who find themselves without shelter over Christmas.

The coats have been bought from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, who will also be supported through the donation. 

The Society has been campaigning to encourage its customers and members to donate to local food banks in the run up to Christmas as part of its #beingcoopy campaign and generally do good deeds for those in need at this festive time of year.

100 of the coats will be given out in Birmingham, 80 in Nottingham, and 50 each to Leicester and Derby though charities who regularly work with those in need including – Charity Link, The Salvation Army and the Hope Centre.

Hannah Gallimore, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Central England Co-op said: ‘We have really pushed our campaign to help those in need this Christmas, and when the opportunity arose to do more through Newlife, we started organising the distribution straightaway.’

Find out more about the #beingcoopy campaign by visiting

About The Author: Rob Smyth

Public relations

Promoting the great work of Central England Co-operative across all forms of media.