Derby volunteer reveals what it is like to work in store during this uncertain time

Derby volunteer reveals what it is like to work in store during this uncertain time

A Derby co-operator has given an insight into what it like working in a Central England Co-op store after deciding to volunteer to ensure communities continue to have access to food and essentials.

Joanna West is a part of the Society’s Northern Membership and Community Council and has been lending a hand in its community food store in Heatherton Village in Derby.

She has now spoken about supporting hard working colleagues and ensuring the local community continues to access to vital food and essentials.

She said: “When I was asked if I’d be happy to help support Central England Co-op during the current pandemic I happily said yes.

“I’ve been on their Membership and Community Council for nearly a year, acting as an ambassador. Usually I can be found working in schools, talking about Fairtrade, and talking about the amazing work Co-op’s do every day.

“I’ve never been prouder to be part of the co-operative movement. I’m working with some brilliant store colleagues who are going above and beyond to make sure they can stay open, and that customers can stay safe. They’ve had to put up with some very difficult circumstances they’ve been incredible and kept very calm. The term retail heroes has never meant more and when someone referred to me as one I must confess it brought a tear to my eye.

“I’ve spent the last four days at a lovely store at a Heatherton Village on the outskirts of Derby, assisting however I can. I’ve stocked shelves, scanned labels to display new products that have come in to replace the usual stock, cleaned fridge doors and shelves, and for the last two days I’ve been stationed on the front door cleaning baskets and trolley handles and asking customers to wait and be patient as we manage social distancing.

“I think giving people rules and limits has been generally well received and customers here have been brilliant! They’ve come to their local store, they’re glad to see colleagues they know who greet them with a smile, and they’re very happy to see most of the products they want are available.

“I’ll be here as long as I’m needed and will continue to work with a smile on my face, knowing I’m doing my bit to keep the local community going.”

Central England Co-op stores across Derbyshire are now being supported by volunteers like Joanna and over 500 temporary workers who have been taken on to support colleagues during this uncertain time.