Central England Co-op store manager hailed a ‘true community advocate’ as she receives recognition at top awards ceremony

A Black Country Co-op store manager has been recognised for championing her local community and raising thousands of pounds for good causes at a major retailer’s national awards ceremony.

Jessica Head, Central England Co-op Store Manager in Brandhall, was named Community Advocate of the Year at the Society’s annual Leading Brilliance Awards, which aim to recognise the achievements of its 8,000 colleagues across its food, funeral and travel businesses.

The 37-year-old, from Stourbridge, has worked for the retailer for 17 years, working her way up to becoming a Store Manager for the past eight years, with the last 18 months at the Tame Road store.

She firmly believes in making her store a real ‘hub’ of the community throwing open its doors to local groups and good causes and fundraising for charity. The awards judges praised Jessica as a ‘true community advocate in every sense of the word’.

She said: “I am absolutely over the moon to have won the award as it shows what great work we do as a team. I still can’t quite believe I won!

“I feel it's important to bring the community together as it helps to create a support network, to build bonds and form new relationships which then helps to build trust within the community.

“As community-based retailer it's about being there when people need us the most and it helps improve quality of life as we are the hub of the community where people like to meet and have conversations. It's about making the community a better place to be and harness great local spirit.”

Among the many activities Jessica has spearhead at the store over the past year have been community fun days, coffee mornings, sponsored walks, fundraising raffles and fancy dress competitions, and she has plenty of plans to bring the community together again this Christmas.

She added: “I've invited a local choir to come and sing in store over the Christmas period to get local residents into the festive spirit.

“We will be fundraising for our corporate charity Dementia UK by having Disney-themed Christmas fancy dress for colleagues, a guess the name of the reindeer competition to win a lovely cuddly toy and much, much more.

“We are also going to all buy a present and wrap it up and take along to our local care home which is just over the road from the store.

“I also have lots of plans for next year from swap shops and litter picks to car boot sales and celebrating Diwali. I can’t wait!”     

Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Debbie Robinson presented all the night’s winners with their awards, with other categories announced on the night including Colleague of the Year, Leader of the Year and Charity Advocate of the Year.

She said: “I was immensely proud to present my first Leading Brilliance Awards as Chief Executive of Central England Co-op and it was such a pleasure to spend the evening with so many inspirational and deserving colleagues and teams, and to rightly recognise their achievements.

“It is so important that we celebrate the wonderful contribution our colleagues make day in, day out to providing our customers and members with fantastic service and to making a real difference in our communities.

“I would like to say well done to all those who received nominations and a big thank you for their continued dedication and commitment to the Society.”


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 

It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.

Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2019.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing members@centralengland.coop or visiting https://www.members.coop

For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative

Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390

Email – publicrelations@centralengland.coop