Central England Co-op celebrates contributions of its ‘frontline fathers’ going and above beyond to support their communities in Lichfield

Central England Co-op is marking Father’s Day this Sunday by celebrating some of the fathers who have been working on the frontline in its food stores and funeral homes during these uncertain times.

Over the past three months colleagues in the Society’s 262 food stores and petrol stations, as well as 132 Funeral Homes have been providing vital food and essentials and supporting families during such difficult circumstances.

Many at the same time have had to balance their key work for their communities with the challenges of disruption to home life with the closure of schools and nurseries, dealing with life in lockdown with small children and often unable to call on family for support.

To mark Father’s Day, Central England Co-op is shining a light on some of its ‘frontline fathers’ and finding out how they and their families have managed during these challenging times.

Among them is Matt Simpson, Store Manager at Central England Co-op’s Boley Park Supermarket in Lichfield, who has balanced leading his team during these challenging times with raising two sons Tyler aged eight and Riley aged six.

The 40-year-old said his children have coped with the lockdown as well as he could have hoped and said to balance his hectic work life over the last few months with responsibilities at home, he has been indebted to his partner Shona.

He said: “At the start of the school closures the boys were excited to be off school and, in a way, probably treating it like a holiday. My partner Shona has been home schooling during the day from packs we received from the school as well as laptop support.

“However, the longer it has been going on they have started to miss friends and family and the usual day-to-day interaction with people rather than just mum and dad.

“Shona is self-employed so has been off the whole time with the children which is a massive help as normally we would rely on support from grandparents which we are unable to do at the moment.”

Matt, from Tamworth, said working around the clock to get vital food and essentials to the community while faced with unprecedented demand and challenges made him appreciate family time more than ever.

He said: “With them being at home all day I just make sure I appreciate my days off as much as possible with them to support Shona with home schooling and to take part in family exercise such as biking and walking.

“The situation has definitely made myself value all the time I have with my family and we have been extremely lucky with the weather, so we have been able to spend time in the garden and having barbecues more often than not.  

“I think the boys have been proud of the work I do as they liked to say they were clapping for me on a Thursday as well as the NHS, which was lovely.”

People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local community in response to Coronavirus by visiting a dedicated online hub at www.centralengland.coop/updates


Notes to editors

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 serving our 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

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop