Central England Co-op urges communities to come together to support those affected by Coronavirus.

Central England Co-op is urging communities to come together and support one and other as it outlines a range of measures to help those whose lives have been affected by the Coronavirus.

The retailer, which has over 240 stores across 16 counties, is looking to help vulnerable people such as the elderly and those on lower incomes at this difficult time.

The Society is launching an urgent food bank appeal to support its charity partners after they reported a major fall in donations at the same time as a spike in demand.

It is also looking a mass recruitment drive for Customer Service Advisors in many of its stores to ensure the community continues to be served.

The retailer has also made a donation to boost their partnership with FareShare Midlands, paying for vital extra transport and staffing costs to make sure that more emergency food packages continue to be delivered.

A dedicated online hub has also been launched to provide regular updates on the Society response to the Coronavirus, exact details on its work to help those in need in the local community and hints and tips for people affected.

Central England Co-op Chief Executive Debbie Robinson said: “As a co-operative retailer, we want to make sure we are leading the way for our communities during this difficult time.

“We are launching an urgent food bank appeal and we are asking people to show their co-operative spirit and donate an item or two so our food bank partners can provide emergency food and support to individuals and families.

“We have also arranged a donation to our food redistribution partners FareShare Midlands to pay for extra deliveries of vital food packages across the region.

“We also wanted to say we are working hard with our suppliers to make sure that shelves areregularly re-stocked, as a community retailer we know how important it is for everyone to have access to good quality food and vital essentials.

“To make sure that there are enough items for everyone, we have placed a temporary limit of two of every product in our stores to help maintain stock levels. We are asking our customers and members to be considerate to others at this uncertain time and shop responsibly.

“We hope that these measures and the work of our colleagues, members and customers allows us to come together for our communities during this uncertain time.”

Items needed for the food bank appeal include cereal, tinned food and fruit, tea bags, dried pasta, rice, long life milk, sugar, biscuits, fruit juice and squash, pasta sauce and instant coffee.

Donations will be collected up from Central England Co-op stores and used to create food parcels, which contain around 11 items and will provide at least three days’ worth of meals for those in need.

The temporary roles on offer will include serving customers and replenishing stock. Three month rolling contracts are on offer and people must be flexible with shift patterns and locations. Ask in store for more details.

People can keep up to date with how Central England Co-op is responding to the Coronavirus by visiting www.centralengland.coop/updates