Retail hero raises money to treat good causes by knitting rainbow badges for local community

A crafty Central England Co-op colleague in Castle Donington has raised money to give treats to good causes in her local community by knitting colourful badges to help people show their appreciation for fellow key workers.

Customer Service Assistant at the Station Road supermarket Mandy Elks knitted special rainbow badges for her colleagues to show their appreciation to frontline workers during these uncertain times.

After they received admiring glances from customers Mandy decided she would knit more badges and sell them to raise money to provide treats to key workers at three local causes who have been providing vital services to the community during the pandemic.

Using the money raised, Mandy and the team put together hampers which she delivered to Royal Derby Hospital, nearby Footsteps Nursery in the village and Castle Donington Community Centre, with whom the supermarket has been working with throughout the pandemic to make over 1,000 deliveries of shopping to those self-isolating.

Central England Co-op Store Manager Oliver Buxton said: “Mandy wanted to try and help and give back to the community and after she had made the badges for our team she got a lot of customers asking for some for themselves.

“Therefore, Mandy thought she could raise money and deliver some treats to thank people who have been doing such great work for our community during the last few months and who deserve a treat.

“It is the kind of person she is, and it was all done on her time. We put the hampers together in store and I hope everyone who received one enjoyed it.

“It has been quite a challenging time, same as everywhere, and we have had a lot of colleagues who had to shield but the team has really pulled together.

“Doing things like this, and particularly working with the Volunteer Centre to support over 1,000 deliveries to vulnerable residents in their community, has really boosted morale.”

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.

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