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

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 Chris Frary, Store Manager at Central England Co-op in Saxon’s Way, Halesworth, Suffolk, who has been leading his team getting vital food and essentials, while he and his wife deal with home schooling and keeping children Landon aged 13 and Tillie aged seven entertained.

The 36-year-old, from Dickleburgh, said both his children had done ‘amazingly well’ considering the situation but admitted it had been ‘tricky’ balancing work and home.

He said: “They have both managed very well. They built a routine around home schooling which has helped. My oldest is a little wary about the situation, more from a family health point of view. They have days when reality sinks in and they can't do things that they took for granted before.

“It has been tricky; however, I have learnt over time that by balancing work and home life leads to me performing better at work. My family are great because they allow me the time and space to digest and reflect on work after I finish, allowing me better time with them afterwards.

“I think it makes you take a step back and think how lucky we are. It has given us that extra focus on no matter what happens in the world around us my family is all that matters.

“On a positive note from the situation I feel we have had more time together as a family. We even had our own mini festival in our back garden just me, my wife, Landon and Tillie to celebrate our wedding anniversary.”

Chris, who also managed during lockdown to raise hundreds of pounds for the NHS with a fundraising challenge running 100km in 10 days, said he had been proud to be a key worker during these times, and his children clearly agree.

Landon said: “I’m very proud of my dad – he is risking his health to make sure other people get the food, drink and things that they need in this strange time.

Tillie said: “My daddy has made me super proud, he is helping lots of people who might need help and are scared."

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