Central England Co-op launches urgent summer appeal to support food banks in Leicestershire 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 Leicestershire 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 Sunni Stewart 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.

The Well Kibworth Foodbank said that due to the cost-of-living crisis, they were mindful that donors may be having their own financial difficulties which might impact on the amount of food donations they receive.

Interim Operations Manager Andy Wright said: “The Well relies on the kindness and generosity of local people who donate food items to support local people in need, some of which are extremely vulnerable. 

“Our partnership with Central England Co-op in Kibworth is invaluable when it comes to providing a donation point that’s accessible to the local community.”

Hinckley Foodbank also said they were very aware the rising cost-of-living is hitting everyone's pockets, which unfortunately means more and more people are needing to use their services.

Project Manager Julie Baker said: “Since April 1, we have already fed over 1,750 people, 600+ of which are children under the age of 16. This is an increase of over 50% from the same period last year.

“If you are able to donate one item of tinned or packet food, drinks or toiletries it can make such a difference.”

Alison Carr from Coalville Foodbank said: “We have already seen an increase in our clients using the food bank due to increased utility bills and cost-of-living rise. We predict by the end of this year, especially when the heating needs to go back on, we will see even more people needing to rely on food banks."

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.