Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media
Central England Co-op and Lichfield District Council launch first of its kind scheme to get food and essentials to vulnerable people
Central England Co-op has teamed up with Lichfield District Council to trail a ground-breaking project aimed at getting vital food and essentials to vulnerable members of the local community.
The retailer, which has two stores and its head office in the city, will link up with council workers to create a community hub at its Boley Park Food Store.
Lichfield District Council will identify vulnerable community members, gather orders and pass them onto the store. Central England Co-op colleagues will then create a package and take payment from the customer over the phone before the local authority delivers the goods.
To make sure the council, in partnership with Central England Co-op, can help as many vulnerable people as possible, it is asking for residents who are self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms and do not have any outside help, to call them to access the emergency shopping service and other support. The number to call is 0333 220 3088, which is available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
This scheme is the first of its kind in the country and, if successful, could lead to the creation of similar projects based out of Central England Co-op community hub stores across the 16 counties it trades in and even farther afield on a national scale.
Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive of Central England Co-op, said: “Co-operation is key to our communities coming together during this uncertain time and this is why we have linked up with Lichfield District Council to launch this pioneering scheme during this uncertain time.
“This unique project will see the council contact vulnerable people in the community and work with us to deliver food and essentials to them.
“This is a great example of communities and organisations coming together at a time of need and creating a solution that will make a difference.
“We have no doubt that this will be a success and have further plans in place to rapidly roll out this out across other locations to make sure we support as many people as we can.”
Councillor Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Housing, said: “We’re really pleased to be part of this trial and look forward to helping our residents who are most in need.
“As we have limited capacity, we are prioritising this service for our residents across the district who are self-isolating and have no one who can help them with their shopping and essential items.
“This is a great example of local government and the private sector coming together in difficult times to offer innovative solutions to support the local community.”
Councillor Doug Pullen, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “I am proud of all those playing a part in this new scheme and, after participating in a training session remotely, I will be joining council officers in phoning residents who may be at risk to see if we can help them. This is a huge group effort and it’s all hands on deck to help our residents in this time of need.”
The council will not be asking for any payment information when they make the initial call. To find out more, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/coronavirushelp.
About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.
Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish.
Our 7,900 colleagues serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.
Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.
We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.
Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood
Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle
Phone – 01543 421390
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