Central England Co-op issues ‘Take Heart in a Good Start’ plea to continue to help those in need during 2021

Central England Co-op is asking its customers and members to ‘Take Heart in a Good Start’ in 2021 and help support people in their local community.

The retailer, which has over 260 stores across 16 counties, is kick-starting the new year by thanking people for backing its year-round efforts to provide food for people in need via work with over 65 local food bank partners and its ongoing pioneering partnership with FareShare.

Despite these uncertain times, co-op shoppers have donated a record-breaking 300,000 items via collection points in store and helped FareShare Midlands create over one million meals for people just by shopping in their local convenience store.

Now, the retailer is asking people to continue that support as food banks and charities continue to feel the strain and thousands of families struggle to eat on a daily basis.

Hannah Gallimore, society corporate responsibility manager, said: “First of all everyone at Central England Co-op wants to say a big thank you to our customers and members for helping us make a long-lasting and vital difference in our communities during 2020.

“By supporting our food banks during the past 12 months or just by shopping with us, we have been able to help more people than ever before ensure they have access to vital food and essentials.

“However, we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to make sure we continue to donate items to food banks so they can keep up with demand and support the likes of FareShare Midlands so they can provide to hundreds of local groups.

“Despite recent uncertain times, we hope that 2021 will be brighter for all and if everyone can ‘Take Heart in a Good Start’ then it will give us a great launching point for the next 12 months.”

Items that can be donated via store food bank collection points include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products to ensure people can maintain their dignity during times of crisis.

Central England Co-op’s pioneering work with FareShare Midlands sees all best before food items and non-food goods that cannot be sold picked up by our distribution network, delivered to FareShare and then sent to support dozens of local charities.

This donation equates to the equivalent of nearly 4,500 meals to people in need every single day and saves charities over £52,000 a month as they do not have to spend that money on food and can invest it in other areas to benefit the people they support.

The retailer also continues to lead the way for those in need across its communities by giving all those who use Healthy Start vouchers an extra £1 to spend on vital food and essentials.

This means that those that use the vouchers will see their allowance rise from £3.10 to £4.10 in Central England Co-op stores and, from April next year, see the total amount increase from the Government set rate of £4.25 to £5.25.