Co-op customers help create 500,000 meals for people in need after backing special Christmas campaign with FareShare Midlands

Posted by james brindle | Published: 05/01/2022

  • Central England Co-op creates 500,000 meals through a special Christmas campaign supporting the charity FareShare Midlands
  • Through November and December any purchase of a product from the Irresistible range in the retailer’s 263 stores saw money donated to the charity to create meals for families in need, supporting the 1.2 million children living in poverty in its trading area
  • The meals created from the campaign will make a major difference to families who FareShare helps to support in the coming months, as they face a spike in demand with the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising living costs

Central England Co-op shoppers showed ‘goodwill to all’ this Christmas by enjoying the retailer’s Irresistible product range and helping create 500,000 additional meals to feed people at risk of going hungry.

Throughout November and December, any purchase made in the retailer’s 263 food stores of products from its Irresistible range saw it donate money to FareShare Midlands to help families struggling in these uncertain times.

The Society is continuing to work with long-term partner FareShare Midlands to provide vital food during the winter months that will help ensure people at risk continue to eat well and stay healthy, particularly the 1.2 million children living in poverty in its trading area.

Before this latest campaign, Central England Co-op had already donated over £87,000 to FareShare Midlands in 2021 thanks to its customers and members backing its campaigns to support the charity’s work with families in food poverty.

The Christmas campaign saw customers and members pick up thousands of items from mince pies and Christmas puddings to pigs in blankets and prosecco, to help their festivities go off with a bang and resulting in a huge donation to FareShare Midlands.

Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-op Social Change Manager, said: “It is so heart-warming to see the generosity of our customers and members shine through once again by helping to create an incredible 500,000 meals for FareShare Midlands at a time when it is receiving such high levels of demand.

“Our long-standing relationship with FareShare has had a life-changing impact for people in our communities in the years we have been working together and, as the demand for support continues to grow during these uncertain times, we are proud to stand with them to help those in need.

“Christmas is the time of goodwill to all, and our shoppers have once again showed that by supporting us and FareShare Midlands over the festive season. But, most importantly, so many families in need have been handed a vital boost at a special time of year – a boost they otherwise might not have had.”

Asha at International Asian Christian Front, one of FareShare Midlands members, said: "You have changed people’s lives and put smiles on their faces, given them hope that they won’t starve with their families when people have to choose to pay the bills or buy food.  

“Children eagerly wait for us to deliver food - they enjoy the treats which are put into the bags. Mothers appreciate the food some even use it as children’s lunch for school.

“Poverty, financial problems, job losses have put families on our list. It’s hard times for everyone; lockdown has lifted but the problem remains.

"Given the unsuitability Covid-19 has presented, it is vital that we keep reaching out to ensure families are getting the bare essentials through food parcels and with FareShare Midlands’ help through Central England Co-op, my organisation has been very fortunate to help those in need.”

Simone Connolly, director for FareShare Midlands, said: “We’ve seen thousands of families struggling this year, and the need for food carries on rising as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt.

“The ongoing support from Central England Co-op and its customers this year has been incredible and enabled us to reach so many more families and children who might otherwise go hungry. Having help putting food on the table is a lifeline to so many, especially at this time of year, and we’re very grateful to everyone who has generously donated to make this happen. Thank you!”

This continued focus on tackling food injustice compliments years of work by the retailer and its partners to try and alleviate the issue in its communities.

It has long campaigned for more to be done to ensure that no child ever goes hungry and works with over 65 food banks as well as FareShare Midlands to help create hundreds of thousands of meals for those at risk falling hungry throughout the year.


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 with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 8,000 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 20 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.

It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.

Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

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