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

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 Luke Ficken, Store Manager at the retailer’s Bedford Road Food Store in Marston Moretaine, who has balanced leading his team during these challenging times with taking care of his three step-children at home – Ruby aged 13, Corey aged 10 and Roman aged five.

The 30-year-old said the children had coped well through the lockdown which has made it easier for him as he works around the clock alongside his colleagues to serve the local community.

He said: “The children have missed seeing their friends and grandparents but have been working hard on their school work at home with the help of their mum Emma, who has been amazing throughout everything for them and supporting me in my work.

“Work has been very demanding, long hours, supporting my team and customers. It has been hard work but a privilege to be in the position where I can support so many other families with their essential shopping.”

Luke, from Stamford in Lincolnshire, said the challenges he has faced in his frontline role have made him appreciate family time more than ever and his step-children are proud of the work all key workers are doing.

He said: “Family time is always important to me, but it has made me appreciate the things you take for granted such as a trip to the park, arcades at the seaside and a Co-op barbecue at their grandparents!

“The children are very proud of me for making sure other families are fed, but also their dad and step-mum who are also key workers, as well as their mum Emma for being their new teacher at home!”

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