Central England Co-op outlines its community response ahead of national lockdown

Central England Co-op has moved to reassure its customers, members and communities that it is taking significant steps to help minimise the impact of the upcoming national lockdown.

The retailer, which has over 240 stores across 16 counties, has plans in place to mitigate any potential issues caused by new Government restrictions to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, which come into force from Thursday.

This includes strengthening its already robust distribution network, forging increased relationships with local suppliers and offering easier access to food and vital essentials via its Call and Collect service for its members and, in some areas, via the one-hour, eco-friendly delivery service Snappy App.

Customers are also being asked to continue to work with Central England Co-op to ‘keep our communities safe’ by adhering to a wide range of measures put in place in stores to keep everyone safe while ensuring access to vital food and essentials.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “Nothing is more important to us all at Central England Cooperative than the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.

“We want to say a big thank you to our customers for their understanding and helping us to keep themselves and our colleagues safe during this pandemic and throughout the coming winter months.

“We are confident that we have taken all the necessary precautionary steps, including working with a wide range of local suppliers, to keep your local Co-op well stocked.

“Our suppliers and colleagues are working hard to make sure that shelves are regularly re-stocked, as a community retailer we know how important it is for everyone to have access to good quality food and vital essentials.

“Today we are asking our customers and members to be considerate to others at this uncertain time and shop responsibly.”

The retailer has also re-issued its plea for people to show ‘care, compassion and respect’ to its colleagues as they continue to work around the clock to serve their communities and go above and beyond to replenish stock levels and keep stores and homes open.

The Society will be continuing to work with over 65 food bank partners with instore donation points, and its pioneering partnership with FareShare Midlands to redistribute food and create over one million meals for local good causes.

The retailer is also promoting its Community Dividend Fund to allow immediate financial support for good causes, groups and charities helping communities deal with the impact of these uncertain times.

The Society’s funeral arm is also working around the clock 24 hours a day to support families in need, including providing a free online bereavement service via Grief Chat.

More details on Central England Co-op’s community response is available by visiting https://bit.ly/381El5a

 

Notes to editors

The range of measures in place at Central England Co-op sites, which have been very well received by customers, include:

 

On entering the shop:

  • Prominent markings installed outside stores so customers queuing maintain safe distances of two-metres and wear a face covering, as well as messages asking those customers who may have symptoms of Covid-19 not to enter the store.
  • Permanent hand sanitiser stations at the front of all stores and a one-way system in place permanently

 

While shopping:

  • Specialist cleaning products are used to regularly wipe down the countertops and chip and pin machines, ATMs, baskets and trolleys
  • Clear markings installed throughout stores to communicate two-metre spacing. Customers are asked to maintain these distances while shopping and this is repeated frequently via in-store radio messaging
  • As mandated by the Government, all customers and colleagues must wear face coverings while in store, unless medically exempt

 

At point of payment:

  • Special markings installed to showcase two-metre safe distances while queueing
  • Team members are using every other till point or checkout to keep both customers and colleagues a safe distance apart
  • Special markings installed in front of till points and checkouts of at least one metre. If a customer needs to enter this area to place down a basket or use the keypad, colleagues move backwards to maintain a safe distance
  • Customers are asked to pay with card or contactless if possible
  • Over 1,000 plastic screens at till points and 7,000 face visors issued to staff.

 

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.

 

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

 

Our 7,550 colleagues who serve 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 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. 

 

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