Central England Co-op issue plea for shoppers in Cambridgeshire to continue to support its Summer Food Bank Appeal and help it ensure children don’t go hungry during the school holidays

Central England Co-op has issued a plea for shoppers in Cambridgeshire to continue donating items to its Summer Food Bank Appeal – after communities revealed that they were seeing unprecedented levels of youngsters in need of food during the school holidays.

The retailer marked the halfway point of its three-month food bank appeal by revealing that over 80,000 items had already been handed over by kind-hearted customers and members at special collection points in Food Stores.

This has supplied food bank partners with enough food to create meals for over 20,000 youngsters and families so far this summer.

In Cambridgeshire, the food banks that will benefit from donations will include Cambridge City Food bank, Peterborough Food bank and Yaxley Food bank.

However, community groups and charities are now urging people to keep donating one or more items – ranging from food to toiletries – as a major rise in demand has resulted in some coming close to running out of food and being unable to help children living in poverty.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We are so proud of the generosity of our customers and members who have donated enough food to help over 20,000 children and their families in just a matter of weeks.

“However our food bank partners are now telling us that, even with the increased levels of donations, some are close to running out of vital items so we still need people to back our campaign.

“All of us here at Central England Co-operative want to urge customers and members to continue to support our Summer Food Bank Appeal and make sure that children do not go hungry during the holidays.”

Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products.

The food is then used to create either bigger food parcels for families with children or to provide special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime.

Central England Co-op launched its Summer Food Bank Appeal in July after figures from End Child Poverty revealed that in Cambridgeshire a total of 30,806 children were currently living in child poverty*. This can be broken down to 7,223 in Cambridge and 23,663 in Peterborough. This means that 44% of youngsters in Peterborough are currently living in poverty – one of the top 10 areas when it comes to highest levels in the entire country.

Holiday hunger revolves around a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.

This often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.

Adrienne Dunn, from St Neots Food Bank, said: “We cannot thank people enough for their donations but we would ask for them to please continue their support during the summer to ensure that we can help children at risk of going hungry and help us cope with unprecedented demand.

“Just one item being donated at the special collection points at Central England Co-op Food Stores this summer can make a real difference to a youngster who is struggling for food and living in poverty.”

The Summer Food Bank Appeal is running until September 15, with special collection points currently in place in over 200 stores.

Central England Co-operative has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores all year, which have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.

The Society works with over 50 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.


Notes to editors


Picture caption: Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Debbie Robinson is urging people to continue to back its Summer Food Bank Appeal and help end holiday hunger among children.




Key items needed by food banks during the festive season:

  • Cereal
  • Tinned food
  • Sugar
  • Rice
  • Dried pasta
  • Pasta
  • Sauce
  • Biscuits
  • UHT milk
  • Fruit
  • Juices
  • Tea
  • Instant coffee
  • Toiletries


*The Society’s trading area is made up of: West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire

**Households are living in poverty if their household income (adjusted to account for household size,) is less than 60% of the median. All poverty rates are calculated on an after housing costs basis. For more information, visit https://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2019/ These figures are taken from studies of local authority areas.


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, travel shops, 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 2019.


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 member 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 members@centralengland.coop or visiting https://www.members.coop


For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative


Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390


Email –publicrelations@centralengland.coop