New hub officially opened to support ground-breaking Co-op food redistribution project
Central England Co-operative has invested £50,000 to create a specialist hub with charity FareShare East Midlands as part of a pioneering project to redistribute unsold food to people in need via hundreds of charities.
Martyn Cheatle, Chief Executive at Central England Co-op, was on hand to cut the ribbon with Andrew Wilson, from FareShare East Midlands, and officially open the state-of-the-art facility, in Oaks Industrial Estate, off Coventry Road, Narborough, that will be the home of the exciting link-up.
The project will see best before food items and non-food goods that cannot be sold at Food Stores across the country collected by colleagues from the Society’s Food Distribution Centre, in Leicester, delivered to the new hub and then sorted and sent out to over 250 local charities across the Midlands.
The scheme is currently being rolled out to all of the retailer’s more than 200 Food Stores in an effort to help good causes and reduce food waste.
Mr Cheatle said: “I am extremely honoured to have been able to officially launch this fantastic hub and that Central England Co-operative is partnering with FareShare East Midlands on such an important project.
“Food waste is a topic that customers and colleagues regularly talk to us about and it is great that our unsold food will now be benefiting a wide variety of people connected to hundreds of local charities through this great scheme.
“The launch of this hub showcases just how large this project is and just how important what we are doing will be to the hundreds of good causes it will support.”
Those involved in the project are predicting that the scheme will help cut food waste by at least 40% and provide over one million meals per year to vulnerable people.
The long-term goal is to see 100 % of best before goods that have not been sold redistributed and put to use by good causes.
This scheme also stands out because it is believed to be the first of its kind to use an existing distribution network to collect items and then deliver them to charity.
FareShare East Midlands’ Director Simone Connolly said: “This is a great and important milestone in the partnership between us and Central England Co-operative.
“Our work together continues to go from strength to strength as the rollout of the project continues and the launch of this hub is the next step on a great journey that will benefit so many people.
“The combined effort will ensure that thousands more people across our region will have access to perfectly edible food that would otherwise be wasted.
“If you would like to get involved and support our mission of ensuring no good food goes to waste, either by donating or volunteering, please get in touch – just £1 enables FareShare to provide a meal for a family of four, a few hours of your time volunteering can make a real difference.”
This specialist hub will solely accept, sort and send out food collected from Central England Co-op Food Stores.
The size of the project has resulted in the hiring of more staff and volunteers by FareShare, as well as the purchase of new vehicles to meet demand.
The hub has been fitted out with a range of new equipment including new chillers by suppliers Oak Electrical.
The investment has contributed to the charity opening another warehouse in South Wigston, Leicestershire, which will be used to deal with donations from other partners.
Notes to editors
Picture caption: Central England Co-op Martyn Cheatle with Andrew Wilson, from FareShare East Midlands, officially opening the new hub to support its pioneering food redistribution project.
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 2018.
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.
For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative
Rob Smyth at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140
FareShare East Midlands key statistics 2018
In 2017/18, FareShare East Midlands saved over 827 tonnes of good quality surplus food from right across the food supply chain and redistributed it to 242 charities and community groups throughout the region. These charities provide meals as part of their services to people in need – such as children’s breakfast clubs, day clubs for older people, domestic violence refuges, homeless shelters and drug and alcohol rehab units. In 2017/18 FareShare East Midlands provided enough food for nearly two million meals (worth over £1.4 million to the charity sector in savings), which helped to feed over 18,000 people every week. Last year FareShare UK provided enough food for over 36 million meals and helped to feed over 770,000 people every week.