Throughout the two weeks of Co-op Fortnight, it gives us the opportunity to shine a light on co-operation at its best, especially through the global pandemic.
We wanted to highlight not just some of our great Co-op products we have in our stores, which you can create some wonderful dishes from, but also the great acts of co-operation that our colleagues have carried out during the last few months.
The annual event is organised by Co-operatives UK and this year the Fortnight aims to harness the new culture of co-operation and change in everyday behaviour brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, to raise awareness of co-ops and the values that run through our diverse sector.
Food banks supporting communities in need
Food banks currently being supported by donations from our kind-hearted members and customers have revealed the shocking impact the Coronavirus has been having on them and the people they support.
Over 65 food bank partners are currently sharing out over 75,000 items donated by people heading into our food stores, as part of an urgent appeal launched after the nationwide lockdown was put in place and organisations saw a major spike in demand, alongside a fall in donations.
See the full story, here
Colleagues old and new coming together to support their communities
Our colleagues on the frontline have gone above and beyond to keep the shelves stocked during the coronavirus outbreak.
We have had colleagues delaying their retirement, many more signing up to assist with everything from working on the tills, to stacking the shelves, to even welcoming those who had already retired to come back into the stores they love, to keep things moving as smoothly as possible.
One of these colleagues is Dave Bailey, who had worked with us for 21 years, returning to his old store in Atherstone to lend a helping hand. See the full story, here
Food hubs support thousands
We have been determined as a Society to demonstrate our co-operative values to support our communities during these uncertain times.
Among the ways we have done this has been through the setting up of five community hubs in Burton, Derby, Leicester, Lichfield and Stafford, working collaboratively with local councils and organisations, to identify vulnerable members of the community and delivering packages of food and essentials.
See an example of some of the work we have done supporting our communities with the food hubs, here
Members giving communities that helping hand
A number of our members have also been doing their bit to support during the COVID-19 outbreak, having really stepped up to the mark to help out.
One of these hero volunteers has been a former top cop turned community champion, who has been doing her bit to ensure local people continue to have access to vital food and essentials.
Eileen Banton, who was awarded an MBE for her role helping to police the streets of South Derbyshire, has split her time between supporting local food banks by collecting and delivering donations, with helping to stock the shelves at her local store, in Stretton, to support hardworking, frontline colleagues.
See her story, here
The importance of giving back
We also stepped in to support our charity partner, Dementia UK, with a donation of £25,000 to their urgent fundraising appeal, with other charity donations made by the Society, including £40,000 to two charities, as part of an effort to help support those impacted by a rise in domestic violence.
We showed our appreciation to our lifesaving NHS by introducing a 10% discount for NHS staff in our stores, whilst we delivered 1,000 ‘thank you’ packages to care home staff across the country to show our appreciation for their efforts on the frontline.
To see how we helped Dementia UK, follow this link