Retail heroes receive ‘thank you’ package from local community for providing food and essentials during Coronavirus pandemic

Colleagues at a Central England Co-op food store in Derby have said they were ‘overwhelmed’ by the kindness of their community after they received a special package of goodies for their work on the frontline during these uncertain times.

The community in Oakwood donated a range of treats and gifts via an Amazon Wish List to say thank you to colleagues at the Smalley Drive food store for their tireless work through the pandemic to support residents to get vital food and essentials.

The package was organised by local resident Karen Hunt and included items such as chocolate, bath bombs, hand creams and even socks, while her children helped decorate the box with drawings and thank you messages, including a hand print from her five-month-old son.

Smalley Drive Store Manager Michelle Morley said the gift had proved a ‘lovely surprise’ and a real morale boost for her and her team.

She said: “We were really overwhelmed to be honest. It is lovely to be recognised as key workers and to feel really appreciated by the local community.

“It has provided a real morale boost for all the team and everyone has been able to take something home with them. We don’t expect anything like this as we are all just trying to do our best to serve the community through these times.

“We have some lovely customers here and a lot of the team are local to the store, so we are a very close-knit community, and this has really brought us together.

“I would just like to thank everyone who contributed and particularly Karen for organising it. You have really brought smiles to our faces and it is so appreciated.”

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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

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