Leicestershire community champions come together to support project helping those in need

Two community champions have been spearheading a vital project aimed at creating vital care packages for vulnerable people in the local community in Leicestershire.

Central England Co-op Membership and Community Relations Officer Karen Bevan and Hilary Allen, Chair of the Society’s Southern Membership and Community Council, have been ensuring customers and Members have access to food and vital essentials by being part of a pioneering project that has seen the Whetstone store, in Dog and Gun Lane, turned into a community hub to help those in need.

The project sees Blaby District Council identify vulnerable community members, gather orders and pass them onto the store. Karen and Hilary then create a package and take payment from the customer over the phone before the council delivers the goods.

The launch of this project comes after the scheme was successfully rolled out in Lichfield, Stafford, Derby and Burton. It has already helped deliver over 1,000 people.

Karen said: “Local people who have been identified as vulnerable in the community will be contacted by the council to place an order which is then submitted to our hub based at the Central England Co-op store in Whetstone.

“Dedicated hub colleagues then pick the order and contact the customer before a team from the council deliver the shopping to the customer, all within around 24 hours of the customer placing the order.

“It’s amazing to know that we are helping support our community at a time they need it.

“Our message to people in need is that we are here to help so please get in touch and we will provide you with vital support during these uncertain times.”

Hilary has already been working in Central England Co-op stores helping colleagues and jumped at the chance of supporting this new and vital project.

She said: “It was a privilege to support our store colleagues and it continues to be a privilege to be part of a scheme that can make such a difference to people in need locally.”

More information on this scheme is available by visiting https://www.blaby.gov.uk/coronavirus/

People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local community by visiting a dedicated online hub at www.centralengland.coop/updates


Notes to editors

Picture caption: Hilary Allen, from Central England Co-op.

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