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Thousands helped with food scheme from Stafford to Leicester

A community hub project that helps deliver vital food to the vulnerable has now helped over 1,000 people.

The scheme sees us link up with local councils and organisations to identify those in need, pick and pack their shopping and deliver it to their front door due to the fact that they are self-isolating.

The first community hub, which are all based out of our stores, was based in Lichfield but now four other sites – Stafford, Derby, Burton and Leicester – are up and running and helping hundreds of people each and every week. More hubs in other areas are set to be rolled out in the coming months.

In less than two months, the ground-breaking project has helped 1,019 people in total.

The project has, so far, resulted in:

·   Over 579 parcels being delivered in Lichfield with help from Lichfield District Council

·   Over 380 supported by us and Stafford Borough Council

·   Link-ups with Derby City Council, Burton Albion Community Trust and Blaby District Council helping 60 people

James Knight, Member and Community Relations Officer for Central England Co-op, is managing the project for the retailer.

He said: “I am so proud to see that our great partnerships across the five areas has now seen us help over 1,000 people.

“Our community hubs have allowed us and the organisations to come together, find the people in need and ensure we get them the food and essentials they need right to their door.

“This is a perfect example of co-operation in action and while we are living through these uncertain times we will continue to work closely with council to help those who need us the most through this project.”

In Lichfield, we are operating out of our Boley Park food store and being supported by Lichfield District Council.

Councillor Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing, said: “I’m so proud we have been able to offer this service to our residents, working closely with Central England Co-operative. For the initiative to have started in Lichfield District, and grown to include other parts of Staffordshire is great to see. To have helped more than 1,000 in total is a real achievement - well done to everyone involved.”

In Burton, we are operating out of our Stapenhill food store and being supported by Burton Albion Community Trust.

Lisa Beard, Community Operations Manager at the trust, said: “We are delighted to be a partner in this fantastic programme. The Central England Co-op food hubs have made such an enormous difference to people in East Staffordshire enabling them to access shopping which they have been able to choose themselves. This really is helping those that are isolated feel much happier and supported during this pandemic, it’s been an absolute lifeline.”

In Derby, we operate out of our Littleover food store and being supported by Derby City Council, while in Stafford, out of our Wildwood food store and being supported by Stafford Borough Council.

Stafford Borough Council Leader Patrick Farrington said: “Our partnership with Central England Co-op has provided a vital lifeline for many in our community.

“Thank you to all who got this up and running quickly and to those who are helping out with the ordering and delivery of food to vulnerable and isolating residents in the borough.”

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