Central England Co-op colleagues urged to make time to talk over a brew this Mental Health Awareness Week

Central England Co-op is urging its near 8,000 colleagues to take a pause from their vital work supporting communities during the Coronavirus outbreak and ‘have a brew’ as it continues its efforts to break the silence around mental health.

The Big Brew takes place during Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18-24) across the Society’s Food Stores, Funeral Homes and Distribution Hubs, while its Business Support Centre colleagues currently working from home due to current guidelines are also being encouraged to take time out and have a ‘virtual cuppa’ with colleagues, family or friends.

To support the campaign, every frontline colleague across the Society will receive a tea bag to help them take part, which will be part of a pack offering hints and tips on how to get support if they need it.

This comes as part of ongoing work by Central England Co-op to tackle the issue of mental health as part of a long-term commitment aimed at raising awareness about mental health problems.

However, with colleagues working on the frontline in food stores and funeral homes in these challenging and uncertain times, it is more important than ever for colleagues to look after their own mental health as teams continue to go above and beyond to support families and their communities.

Tracey Orr, Chief Operating Officer at Central England Co-op, as well as Chair of the Society’s Mental Health Working Party, said: “We are proud, once again, to support Mental Health Awareness Week as the health and wellbeing of all of our colleagues is of the utmost importance to us.

“This year, with the unprecedented challenges our colleagues have faced as keyworkers on the frontline in our food stores, funeral homes and distribution hubs, as well as those in our support teams who have had to adjust to new ways of working, it is perhaps more important than ever that we encourage our colleagues to take time to look after their own mental health and wellbeing.

“Therefore, we have distributed Fairtrade tea bags to all our frontline colleagues as part of our Big Brew and are encouraging them to take some out from their outstanding work supporting our communities, to switch off and have a brew.

“Meanwhile as the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness, we are also encouraging all our colleagues and our wonderful customers and Members to check in on an absent colleague, neighbour or old friend for a ‘virtual brew’ with a phone call, over WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom or however they can.

“The smallest act of kindness, like the offer of a cup of tea and the sparing of a little time, can be all it takes to lift someone’s spirits.

“We hope everyone will support our Big Brew and help end the stigma around mental health.”

Central England Co-op showed its long-term commitment to raising awareness about mental health problems by signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge in 2017.

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