Co-op Christmas appeal boosts food banks in Cambridgeshire with over 75,000 donations

Central England Co-operative has said ‘thank you’ to customers and members in Cambridgeshire after they donated over 75,000 items in support of the Christmas Food Bank Appeal – helping to create over 30,000 meals for people in need.

The retailer hosted a special five-week appeal in an effort to bring a little festive cheer and provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis.

Colleagues at food stores across the area used already strong connections with local food bank providers to encourage people to drop off one or more items – resulting in an amazing response.

Over 15,000 items a week were donated and, in total, over 75,000 were collected in just a matter of weeks.

This allowed for the creation of special food parcels that were handed out to provide over 30,000 meals during the festive period.

Martyn Cheatle, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We have all been amazed by the fantastic response to our Christmas Food Bank Appeal from customers, members and colleagues in Cambridgeshire.

“As a co-operative, we are proud to be able to support the great work of local food banks across our trading area during the festive season and throughout the year.

“This year we have collected over 75,000 items, a great figure that will mean we have created over 30,000 meals for those in crisis.

“We all want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who donated, not just to the Christmas Food Bank Appeal but our year round food bank collections.
“The generosity and support on show throughout 2018 has helped make a major difference to people from all walks of life.

“We now want to ask people to continue to support our food banks during 2019 so we can keep providing vital donations to good causes that can really make a positive impact on those in need.”

The parcels included items such as tea, sugar and cereals and other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products to ensure people can maintain their dignity during times of crisis. They also featured festive treats ranging from chocolate to Turkish delight following a plea by food bank partners for people to spread a little ‘festive cheer’ with their donations.

The Christmas Food Bank Appeal was launched on the back of year round relationships currently in place with local food bank providers and hundreds of Central England Co-op stores.

During Christmas 2013, Central England Co-operative Society trialled an in-store food bank collection and such was its success that the Society now has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores.

The store food banks have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.


Notes to editors

Picture caption: Central England Co-operative colleague Sheena Lee is celebrating after over 75,000 items were donated as part of the Christmas Food Bank Appeal.


Key items needed by food banks

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


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 2018.


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 members 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 or visiting


For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook:


Rob Smyth at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140


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