Co-op Summer Food Bank Appeal launches to combat holiday hunger as new figures reveal over 30,000 youngsters currently live in child poverty across Cambridgeshire

Central England Co-op is launching a Summer Food Bank Appeal to try and combat holiday hunger in Cambridgeshire after new figures revealed that over 30,000 children are currently living in child poverty across the area.

The retailer will be hosting special collection points in all of its local stores from 8 July to 15 September and encouraging customers and members to donate items from a special list devised with the help of local food bank partners.

The food will then be used to create either bigger food parcels for families with children or to provide special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime.

Data collated by the End Child Poverty coalition and researchers from Loughborough University in May 2019 revealed that in Cambridgeshire a total of 30,806 children were currently living in child poverty*. This can be broken down to 7,223 in Cambridge and 23,663 in Peterborough. This means that 44% of youngsters in Peterborough are currently living in poverty – one of the top 10 areas when it comes to highest levels in the entire country.

In Cambridgeshire, the food banks that will benefit from donations will include Cambridge City Food bank, Peterborough Food bank and Yaxley Food bank.

Food banks often see a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.

This often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We at Central England Co-op have worked closely with our food bank partners to come up with a special campaign during the summer months to try and help combat the issue of holiday hunger.

 “Our Summer Food Bank Appeal will run from July to September and today we are appealing to our customers and members to support us and help make a real and positive impact in their local area.

“We are asking for people to drop off as many items as they can into our food bank collection points in our stores and play a part in making a real difference to children and families.”

Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products.

Last year, the retailer’s Summer Food Bank Appeal resulted in 141,000 items being donated, creating enough food to help feed over 35,000 children and families.

Adrienne Dunn, from St Neots Food Bank, said: “Holiday hunger is an issue that more and more people face each year in the Cambridgeshire area.

“During the school holidays the provision of free school meals for many children stops and families experience additional financial burden on already stretched budgets. This can result in children and parents going hungry.

“We are delighted to be working with Central England Co-op and supporting the Summer Food Bank Appeal to combat holiday hunger.

“We would ask people, if they can, to donate some items during the campaign. This will make a huge difference to help food banks ensure that children and their families don’t go hungry this summer.”

Central England Co-operative has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores all year, which have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.

The Society works with over 50 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.


Notes to editors

Picture caption: Central England Co-operative colleague XXXX is urging customers and members to get behind the Summer Food Bank Appeal.

Picture caption: Young shopper XXXX is backing the Central England Co-op Summer Food Bank Appeal.


Key items needed by food banks during the festive season:

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


*Households are living in poverty if their household income (adjusted to account for household size,) is less than 60% of the median. All poverty rates are calculated on an after housing costs basis. For more information, visit These figures are taken from studies of local authority areas.


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 2019.


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 member 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 and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390


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