Central England Co-op has teamed up with Derby City Council to launch a ground-breaking project aimed at getting vital food and essentials to vulnerable members of the local community.

The retailer will link up with council workers to create a community hub at its Littleover Food Store, in Burton Road.

Derby City Council will then identify vulnerable community members, gather orders and pass them onto the store. Central England Co-op colleagues will then create a package and take payment from the customer over the phone before the local authority delivers the goods.

The launch of this project comes after the scheme was successfully trialled at the retailer’s Boley Park food store, in Lichfield, with partner Lichfield District Council and its Wildwood food store, in Stafford with partner Stafford Borough Council.

The rollout of the project with Derby City Council is part of plan to create similar projects based out of Central England Co-op community hub stores across the 16 counties it trades in and even farther afield on a national scale.

If you don’t have any family or friends who can help you and you don’t have a direct worker who is currently supporting you or you aren’t able to do your own online shop and feel that you need assistance due to effects of COVID-19, then please call 01332 640000 (option 5) and our Community Hub team can help.

Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive of Central England Co-op, said:

“Co-operation is key to our communities coming together during this uncertain time and this is why we have linked up with Derby City Council to launch this pioneering scheme during this uncertain time.

“This unique project will see the council contact vulnerable people in the community and work with us to deliver food and essentials to them.

“This is a great example of communities and organisations coming together at a time of need and creating a solution that will make a difference.

“Our trials in Lichfield and Stafford have been and continue to be a great success. This is why we have now been able to launch in Derby with our great partner Derby City Council to help more people in the local area.

“We have further plans in place to rapidly roll out this out across other locations to make sure we support as many people as we can in the coming weeks.”

Councillor Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing, said:

“During the coronavirus pandemic we are all faced with obstacles and are having to live in a very different way to what we are used to. Unfortunately, for some people in the city, these difficulties extend to accessing vital resources such as food.

“We’re very glad to have organised a method of supporting those in need to ensure they have access to food and appreciate the coordination and enthusiasm of all partners and volunteers across Derby.”

To find out more, visit www.derby.gov.uk/coronavirus