Central England Co-op is marking Co-op Fortnight by shining a light on what it has been doing to support communities and some of the great acts of co-operation carried out by colleagues throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
Co-op Fortnight takes place between Monday, June 22 and Sunday, July 5 and the slogan for this year’s campaign 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.
Central England Co-op has been determined to demonstrate its co-operative values to support communities during these uncertain times.
Among the ways it has done this has 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 the retailer heard from its 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, it launched an urgent food bank appeal and made five figure donations to both FareShare Midlands and FareShare East Anglia to support their vital work.
Central England Co-op also stepped in to support its 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.
The Society showed its appreciation to the NHS by introducing a 10% discount for staff in its stores, while it delivered 1,000 ‘thank you’ packages to care home staff across the country to show its appreciation for their efforts on the frontline.
Meanwhile, the retailer’s colleagues who have been working around the clock in its food stores ensuring their communities have access to food and essentials and in its funeral homes supporting families say goodbye to loved ones, have also gone above and beyond to display their co-operative spirit.
This has included everything 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.
It has 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 its stores.
Tanya Noon, Central England Co-op Member and Community Relations Officer, said: “Co-op Fortnight is a great opportunity to celebrate our co-operative difference alongside our partners in the wider movement and it is particularly timely during these uncertain times.
“Co-operation has been there for all to see over this challenging period and we have witnessed the real differences that can be made in our communities when we all co-operate.
“It has been inspirational to see how our colleagues have combined ensuring our communities continue to have access to vital essentials and services during this uncertain time, with supporting good causes, helping vulnerable residents and recognising fellow frontline workers, showcasing the true spirit of co-operation when it has been needed most.”
You can read all about what Central England Co-op has been doing to support its communities during the Coronavirus pandemic by visiting a dedicated online hub at www.centralengland.coop/updates
A campaign video from Co-operatives UK about this year's event is below.