Food heroes swoop in for Co-op store support

A retired teacher and former store manager have swooped in to help support stores during the Covid-19 crisis.

Retired teacher Ollie Pardo and former store manager Phil Fee both didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate and help their local stores when the call went out for assistance.

Ollie, from nearby Spital, is an active Central England Co-op Member, serving on the Society’s Northern Member and Community Council (MCC) supporting with community activities and educational workshops in schools.

As food stores across the area began to experience unprecedented demand as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak began to hit, Ollie heeded a call for volunteers to provide support and hasn’t looked back since.

He said: “I have really enjoyed it. I have been going into the store on the mornings on delivery days to help take the pressure off the team by helping manage the queue, clean down the trolleys and baskets and keep things ticking over so they can focus on getting stock out.

“I wanted to do something to help out. I am an active MCC member and enjoy supporting the community where I can through that role so when the request went out for volunteers I knew I wanted to support,” he said.

Community hero Phil Fee spent almost 40 years of his life working in food retail, the majority of which was for Central England Co-op.

Although he retired four years ago he also still keeps active as an MCC.

However, when the scale of the current unprecedented situation became apparent, he volunteered to support his local store in Watnall Road, Hucknall and he said he was glad he was able to lend a hand.

He said: “I’ve been going in about three times a week to do a few hours and help the team unload and get the delivery out on to the shopfloor. It’s been nice being back on the shopfloor again. I ached a bit the first few days but I’ve really enjoyed it.

“They are a really good team at Watnall Road and they appreciated the help, particularly in those first few weeks where they couldn’t get the stock out fast enough to meet the incredible demand,” he added.

Phil, Ollie and over 500 temporary workers have been taken on to support colleagues during this uncertain time.

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