Summer Food Bank Appeal receives over 140,000 donations and creates 35,000 meals in Cambridgeshire

Central England Co-operative can today reveal that customers and members have donated enough food to feed 35,000 children at risk of holiday hunger this summer in Cambridgeshire.

The retailer hosted a special three-month Summer Food Bank Appeal to help youngsters in need across the area after food bank partners revealed a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays was the biggest issue that they faced outside of Christmas.

The campaign saw a total of 141,000 items – ranging from food to toiletries – dropped off at special food bank collection points at over 180 Food Stores across 16 counties during June, July and August and then used to create special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime.

Holiday hunger often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.

In Cambridgeshire, figures from End Child Poverty revealed that 27,530 children were at risk of falling into holiday hunger during 2018 - meaning that all children were supported during the school holidays thanks to the campaign and food bank partners.

Some of the stores that took part included Cambourne, Peterborough and Market Deeping.

Martyn Cheatle, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We have been astonished by the generosity of our customers and members in their support of our Summer Food Bank Appeal and I would like to thank every person who found the time to donate to this vital campaign.

“To have collected over 140,000 items and created meals for 35,000 children is an amazing achievement and, most importantly, will have had a major impact for youngsters at risk of going hungry this summer.

“We are proud to work with amazing food bank partners all year round and continue to urge our customers and members, if they can, to drop off an item or two into the special collection points in our stores to make sure vital support continues for people in need all year round.

So far this year, Central England Co-op and its Foodbank partners have helped collect over 200,000 items via all year round collection points and special campaigns at Christmas, Easter and summer.

During Christmas 2013, Central England Co-op trialled an in-store food bank collection and such was its success that the Society now has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores.

This has resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.

The Society now works with over 50 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.

Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products

Adrienne Dunn, from St Neots Food Bank, said: “We cannot thank people enough for their donations but we would ask for them to please continue their support to ensure that we can help children at risk of going hungry.

“Just one item being donated at a Central England Co-op Food Store can make a real difference to a youngster and their family who is struggling for food.”

More details about the Society’s work with food banks and the community in general can be found by visiting


Notes to editors

Picture caption: Central England Co-operative colleague Yvonne Adams is celebrating after over 140,000 items were donated as part of the Summer Food Bank Appeal.


Key items needed by food banks

  • Cereal
  • Tinned food
  • Sugar
  • Rice
  • Dried pasta
  • Pasta
  • Sauce
  • Biscuits
  • UHT milk
  • Fruit
  • Juices
  • Tea
  • Instant coffee
  • Toiletries


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.

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 at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140


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