From today we will be marking Co-op Fortnight by shining a light on what we have been doing to support our communities and some of the great acts of co-operation carried out by our colleagues throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
Co-op Fortnight takes place between Monday, June 22 and Sunday, July 5 and the theme this year is ‘Let’s Build Something Better Together’.
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.
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 have 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.
When we heard from our food bank partners about the huge spike in demand for their services at the same time as a drop in donations as the impact of the pandemic first hit in March, we launched an urgent food bank appeal and made five figure donations to both FareShare Midlands and FareShare East Anglia to support their vital work.
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, while we delivered 1,000 ‘thank you’ packages to care home staff across the country to show our appreciation for their efforts on the frontline.
Meanwhile, our colleagues who have been working around the clock in our food stores ensuring their communities to have access to food and essentials and in our funeral homes to supporting families say goodbye to loved ones, have also gone above and beyond to display their co-operative spirit.
From delivering shopping to regular customers who have had to self-isolate and making donations of treats to hospital staff, to making vital PPE for carers in their spare time and fundraising with head shaves and long-distance runs.
We have also seen colleagues postpone retirement or even return from retirement to support teams on the frontline, as well as Members volunteering to do their bit and help in our stores.
Co-operation has been there for all to see over this challenging period and we have seen the difference that can be made when we all co-operate.
We are joining with our fellow partners in the co-operative movement to say, “Let’s build something better together” as we look to the future.
To find out more about Co-op Fortnight and the work we do, visit www.centralengland.coop/coopfortnight