Community team at Central England Co-op give boost to food stores by serving on shopfloor ​

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Central England Co-op’s Membership community team has been swapping the day job and showing the true meaning of co-operation by volunteering to help on the shopfloor to support their communities.

Across the retailer’s trading area, its four regional Membership and Community Relations Officers (MCROs) have offered their help as their colleagues have dealt with unprecedented demand.

The officers’ usual day job involves going out and about in their communities delivering educational workshops in schools, supporting projects and good causes in the community and organising Member groups and activities.

However, the current situation has seen them redeployed to help in store and for several of the team it has actually been a return to the shopfloor.

In the Northern region, MCRO and current Central England Co-op board director Tanya Noon has spent the last fortnight supporting her local store in Horsley Woodhouse in Derbyshire.

She said: “We are in very challenging times but the experience of working with our Retail Heroes in store has been excellent. It can be difficult to keep up appearance when such sad things are happening around us but the colleagues are a true inspiration and do not let anything deter them.  

“The new shopping distance of two metres is working really well and customers are being very responsive. I have managed the door on several occasions to ensure we do not have too many customers in the store at one time. It also keeps the queue down and gives colleagues on the till time to catch up.

“The manager Paul and all his colleagues have given me a warm welcome and I have tried to assist in anyway from putting out deliveries, cleaning baskets and talking to customers and reassuring them when queuing outside.  

“I have been amazed by how many times people thank us which is a real credit to everyone and someone even gave me a bunch of flowers to say thank you. There have been lots of local people offering support to their neighbours and coming into the store to do the shopping.  It is great to see the community spirit.”

Western MCRO James Knight has supported at several stores including North Wingfield in Derbyshire and Coppice Road in Arnold, Nottingham.

MCRO for the Eastern region Kym Hunt has been lending a hand to the team at Carlton Colville in Suffolk, while MCRO for the Southern region Karen Bevan has been supporting the Narborough store in Leicester.

Members from Central England Co-op’s Membership and Community Council (MCC) have also been putting themselves forward to support stores, including Northern Member Joanna West in Heatherton Village in Derby, Southern Member Hilary Allen in Groby, Leicestershire and Eastern Member Danny Douglas in Cromer, Norfolk.