Central England Co-op provides £40,000 boost to help stem the rise in domestic abuse in its communities

Central England Co-op has donated £40,000 to two charities as part of an effort to help support those impacted by a rise in domestic violence.

The retailer, which has over 240 food stores across 16 counties, has given £20,000 each to Refuge and Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid to support the great work being undertaken to provide those who need support and advice.

The largest independent co-operative society in the UK is also rolling out a poster campaign in its stores to advertise all of the contact details people may need to get in touch with these vital support services.
This comes in response to a surge in reports of domestic violence following the introduction of the nationwide lockdown to help tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.

A recent report revealed that demand to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline has risen by over 60% since restrictions were put in place.

Hannah Gallimore, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Central England Co-op, said: “Refuge  and Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid are both doing amazing work to help stem the rise in domestic violence cases witnessed since the launch of the nationwide lockdown.
“These groups are the experts in their field and this is why we wanted to make this donation, to allow them to use it the way they see best to help those in need at this time.
“We will also be doing our bit in store with a poster campaign aimed at highlighting contact details for all of these support services and more for those that need it.”
Maureen Connolly, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, said: “Home is not always the safest place and during the recent period, COVID 19 has forced women and children who are victims of domestic abuse, to stay at home with their abusers. 
“Our front door has been really important for them, and through conversations on our extended helpline, our new webchat facility and home option hub, we have been able to offer support and routes to safety. 

“Our refuges remain open and staffed, and we have throughout the crisis been supporting families who live there. We have provided activities for women and children to keep their morale high in the face of such challenging circumstances.

“It is with enormous gratitude that we receive this support from Central England Cooperative and this will be used to keep women and children safe, care for their emotional and physical well-being and hopefully be able offer a bit of fun, that we all need, under such challenging circumstances.”

Sandra Horley, Chief Executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge, said: “Refuge is really grateful for Central England Co-op’s support, helping us to ensure as many women as possible know the number for Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline.

“Since the start of Covid-19, the Helpline has seen an increase in demand of over 60%. This shows the sheer number of women who need the confidential, specialist support that Refuge provides. Every generous donation Refuge receives helps us to ensure that no woman or child is turned away from safety.”

People will have access to information on how to contact the following via the new store posters:

  • NSPCC – 0808 800 5000
  • Childline – 0800 1111
  • Mind – 0300 123 3393
  • Cruse Bereavement – 0800 808 1677
  • Action on Elder Abuse – 0808 808 8141
  • Victim Support – 0808 168 9111
  • Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • Respect Men’s advice line: 0808 801 0327
  • Samaritans – 116 123
  • National Centre for Domestic Violence – 0207 186 8270
  • Modern Slavery Helpline – 08000 121 700
  • Police: 999 press 55 when prompted if you can't speak


Notes to editors


Picture caption: The poster that will be on display in all Central England Co-op stores from next week.


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 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 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