Central England Co-op launches urgent summer appeal to support food banks in Cambridgeshire during school holidays

Posted by james brindle | Published: 26/07/2022

Central England Co-op is launching an urgent summer appeal to help boost the stocks of food banks in Cambridgeshire and tackle the issue of holiday hunger during the school break.

The retailer has special collection points in over 200 of its stores where its customers and members can donate all year round, however it hopes to boost food bank supplies as they face soaring demand during the summer holiday period and due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Most requested items currently include UHT Milk, long-life juice, pasta sauce, sponge puddings, tinned fruit and vegetables, tinned meat and fish, rice pudding, washing up liquid and many food banks are also keen to receive toiletries such as deodorant and toothpaste.

The items donated are collected up, turned into parcels with enough food to create meals for three days and distributed to help people in need across Central England Co-op’s trading area.

Store Manager Rebecca Mott said: “We’ve had an amazing response to previous appeals to support our food bank partners at crucial times of the year and we know from speaking to them that sadly the demand is only growing for their services. The summer holidays is always a particularly busy time anyway with children off school and not able to receive free school meals if they’re eligible.

“This is why everyone involved at Central England Co-op is asking members and customers, if they can, to dig deep and help support some great and vital local good causes who are providing a lifeline to people in need in your community.”

Central England Co-op’s food bank partners across the country have reported that they are clearly seeing the impact of the rising cost-of-living and also that although demand for their services is rising, supplies are diminishing, and they are in urgent need of support.

Juliet Welch from Peterborough Food Bank said they have been seeing higher levels of need due to the rising cost of living, with a big jump in demand over the last few months.

Particular items they are in need of are tinned meat and tinned rice pudding, long-life fruit and toiletries. 

She said: “Sadly we are seeing that the cost-of-living is impacting us, in terms of seeing more people in need of our foodbank emergency parcels, but also those that would normally donate to us also now starting to struggle. So, we really value and appreciate any donations that we receive.”

Cathy Wright, from Ely Foodbank, said they are running low on a range of stocks, and have certainly seen a drop in donations.

Their regular low stocks include long-life milk, juice or squash, 1kg rice, tinned tomatoes, rice pudding, custard, tinned meat, tea, coffee and biscuits.

Cathy said: "Thank you for the support Central England Co-op gives to foodbanks in the area. We appreciate that regular donors are having to sometimes adjust their giving as the cost-of-living affects us all. Any donations received are used locally to help people who are really worrying whether they will eat properly today." 

St Neots Foodbank is also seeing a rise in the number of people asking for food parcels. They are short of long-life fruit juice, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, oats, jam and coffee.

Yaxley Foodbank are providing weekly parcels in August for families recommended to them by local schools.

They’re looking for donations of items including tinned meat, tinned fish, tinned spaghetti, soups, fruit juice, squash, tinned potatoes, tinned vegetables and tinned fruit, as well as personal hygiene items (shampoo/shower gels/soap/washing powder/toothpaste etc.)

Central England Co-op’s Summer Food Bank Appeal will run right across the summer holiday period and people can find their nearest Central England Co-op store at https://stores.centralengland.coop


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 and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 8,000 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 20 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.

It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.

Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.

Press office contact: James Brindle, Public Relations Lead

Contact details: email james.brindle@centralengland.coop and telephone 07392 080028.