Co-op and council launch first of its kind scheme to get food to vulnerable people in Lichfield

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Central England Co-op has teamed up with Lichfield District Council to launch 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.

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