Leicestershire food store turns negative into positive with show of support for community library

Posted by james brindle | Published: 06/08/2020

A Leicestershire village library run by volunteers has been boosted with support by a neighbouring food store as it reopened to the public after being closed during lockdown.

The Main Street Central England Co-op in Markfield leapt into action when they heard about the reopening of the vital community library which provides a lifeline, particularly for elderly and vulnerable residents.

The store donated a hamper of goodies as a boost to the volunteers running the library, while the retailer’s Southern Membership and Community Council (MCC) also gave £50 in vouchers for tea, coffee etc. for the volunteers and visitors.

The Main Street store also provided the library with social distancing floor stickers to help the venue adapt to the new guidance to protect volunteers and the public, as well as supplies of hand sanitiser and masks.

Elaine Rowley, Team Leader and Vice-Chair of the Southern MCC, attended the reopening with fellow MCC members and said supporting the important local cause had provided a boost to the team after a colleague was recently the victim of an unprovoked attack at the store.

She said: “The library is very important to the local community in Markfield, so we are delighted to have been able to support them as they reopen following the lockdown.

“They get a lot of elderly and vulnerable people who go there and for many going there it is one of the few opportunities they get to speak to other people and they can read a paper and have a cuppa.

“The parish council had been in to the store and asked about social distancing, how we were managing it in store and asked for some help when they reopened the library.

“I was happy to give them advice and I managed to speak to our marketing team at head office and get some floor stickers to help them implement the guidance.

“It has been an unpleasant week with what happened to our colleague, but we are trying to turn a negative into a positive by showing our co-operative values and supporting the community.

“A lot of people at the library are regular customers and do a great job so it is nice for us to be able to give back and support them.”

Margaret Bowler, Chair of Markfield Community Library, said the support from the Main Street Food Store had been well appreciated and made the reopening ‘something special’.

She said: “The support we have received from the Markfield Food Store in helping us to cautiously reopen the Markfield Community Library has been really appreciated. We are 100% volunteer led and managed. 

“We have been helped with notices and resources such as sanitiser and masks to help us implement a safe reopening for our volunteers and the public. Not only did they do that, but they also donated a hamper and vouchers to sustain our volunteers through the next few weeks and months whilst on duty. It made the reopening into something very special and very exciting.” 

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


Notes to editors

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 serving our 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