Artistry and chemistry make friendships bloom at Central England Co-operative member class in Leicestershire

Central England Co-operative members are developing their artistic side and making firm new friends at floristry classes in Leicestershire.

The classes, held at St Nicholas Church Hall, Main Street, Fleckney, are taught by Sharon McKinder and are available to Central England Co-operative members as one of the wide range of groups offered across the Society’s trading area.

Sharon, who has taught the classes for eight years and has around 35 years’ floristry experience, said:

“The classes are very community based. Both classes have made such good friends and they have recently welcomed new members with warmth, which is lovely to see.

“Over the years the members have helped each other through sad and happy times and they have a special bond. For some of the ladies it’s a few hours to gather their thoughts, enjoy friendship, create something beautiful and to enjoy refreshments in a friendly, relaxed environment.” 

The sessions are informal but informative and allow students to progress at their own pace using step-by-step instructions, so even those with no previous floristry experience can be confident they will leave each week having created something beautiful.

New member Jo said: “Sharon has ensured that as a new group member I am made welcome, comfortable and she offers great support to allow us to achieve our individual designs with the flowers.

“It is a great couple of hours during which I am able to mix with a group of lovely ladies and relax and develop my creativity. Although I have a long way to go, Sharon is always positive and encouraging.”

Previous classes have been themed around topics such as hobbies, countries, anniversaries and national flowers to provide further inspiration and enjoyment. They can also be tailored to students’ requirements if they wish to learn a specific skill. 

The group has provided floral arrangements for three weddings and also joins in with a local Christmas tree event each year.

Student Geraldine said: “I joined the class as a newly-retired person in April, with absolutely no artistic talent, but I love gardening and plants. I thought it may be nice if when I picked flowers from the garden I could be able to arrange them.

“The class turned out to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the week.  Sharon has a cohort of longstanding participants in the class and they were all wonderfully welcoming.  There were two other new ladies and we have had a wonderful time. It turned out to be so much more than just a flower arranging class.”

Judy, who has attended the class since it began, said: “I love it!  There is always something new to learn and new avenues to explore. Each class sees us learning, strengthening our friendship and helping each through the highs and lows of life – a fantastic community resource.”

The class is run for Central England Co-op members. Anyone can join, but as it is a member benefit, they would be expected to join the Society. For more information on this and other classes in Leicestershire, including calligraphy, creative embroidery & beading, keep fit abilities, lace making, soft furnishings and watercolour painting, call 01543 414140 or email


Notes to Editors

Picture captions: Beautiful creations by members of the Central England Co-operative floristry class in Fleckney.


About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 

It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property investment.

Central England Co-operative has over 400 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.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2018.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting

For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook:

Rob Smyth at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140

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