Luke puts his day job on hold to support project helping to get food and essentials to vulnerable people

A Central England Co-op colleague who spends his days working to help the retailer reduce its carbon footprint has put the day job on hold to help put together food parcels as part of a ground-breaking project in Stafford.

Luke Olly, Energy and Environment Lead at Central England Co-op, is supporting the scheme which has seen the retailer link up with Stafford Borough Council aimed at getting vital food and essentials to vulnerable members of the local community.

He is working as part of the project’s community hub at Central England Co-op’s Wildwood Food Store, in Cannock Road, gathering orders from the council, creating packages which the local authority then deliver to the residents identified.

Luke has now given a first-hand account of how he is supporting the project and how he has found being out of the office supporting both the Stafford project and Retail Heroes on the frontline in the Society’s food stores.

Luke said: “My role in the project has been helping set up the hub at Wildwood, setting up a picking system and putting together the food parcels as the orders come in. The project seems to be going well so far and the orders have increased each day since it launched.

“My usual role is to ensure we are compliant as a business with energy and environmental legislation, looking at how we can reduce our carbon footprint and looking at new technologies and the roll out of new technologies across our business to support that aim.

“However, in these uncertain times I have been happy to give my support to our food stores and have been helping out across the local area.

“It has been a really good way for me to appreciate the hard work and the stress that the stores have been under in the last few weeks and also for me to understand the day to day business better, putting my job into far better context.

“It has also given me even more admiration and respect for the fantastic work my colleagues do every day to serve their communities.”

People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local community by visiting a dedicated online hub at


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 for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email -