Manager of Stretton Central England Co-op store celebrates 30 years serving her community at special award ceremony

A Stretton convenience store manager has celebrated clocking up 30 years working at the heart of her community for Central England Co-op at a special award ceremony at Chatsworth House.

Carol Bennett, store manager at Stretton Precinct Food Store, has worked for the society since the age of 16, where she worked in the village where she grew up in Rolleston, initially on a Youth Training Scheme (YTS).

After learning the retail trade on the two-year course the 48-year-old worked her way up through the ranks at the Rolleston store from the checkouts to supervisor and then spent 13 years as deputy manager.

She is currently manager at the busy Stretton store in the village, where she now lives with husband of 18 years Jamie and daughter Leah.

To mark the milestone of 30 years’ service, Carol joined 66 colleagues with a combined service length of 2,195 years at a celebration event to be personally thanked by Central England Co-op’s President Elaine Dean and Executive team for their commitment to the Society.

Carol said: “I was extremely proud to attend the awards with my colleagues and to have been with Central England Co-op for 30 years. I have a great team of 12 people at the Stretton store where we are in the heart of the village and have a lot of regular customers who come in each day for their shopping and a chat.

“I am very lucky to work within a team who are focused on giving the customer a great experience from the moment they enter the store. It’s also so nice to work in Stretton as my family and I love living here as the village has such a great community feel.

“I have had a number of highlights during my career from being a deputy manager at the store where I started to becoming a manager and being able to make a difference to the store and colleagues who work there.”

Carol said she has received excellent support from Central England Co-op in developing her career and in recent years has seen a number of positive developments.

She said: “Over the last few years I have really seen great developments and investment in colleagues from looking after their wellbeing to supporting those who wish to progress and develop their skills.

“Over the years I have suffered with confidence and believing in myself but after completing the Society’s leadership programme I feel a lot more confident. Having people around you who believe in you and encourage you to believe in yourself really makes a difference to how you manage.”

Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive of Central England Co-operative, said: “It was a true pleasure to attend my first Long Service Awards at the Society and personally thank such inspirational colleagues who have dedicated their careers to Central England Co-op and to our customers, members and communities.”

Elaine Dean, President of Central England Co-operative, added: “It was wonderful to spend time with so many colleagues who embody the Co-op’s values and principles and who have shown such commitment to our Society. Their level of dedication is incredibly humbling and deserving of recognition.

“I am so very proud to be President of a Society with such a fantastic record of long serving colleagues.”

To find out more about a career at Central England Co-op visit


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. 

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

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