By Helen Carroll, Director of Community Strategy and Activation

We know that many people in our communities have been instructed by the Government to stay at home to help keep themselves safe from coronavirus.

This means now more than ever, they’re relying on the continued kindness of friends, family, neighbours or volunteers who can nip to the shop to pick up their food and essential items.

We’ve introduced a safe payment solution, the Community Shopping Card, which allows a person staying at home to purchase a pre-paid card they can share with those shopping for them.

By calling our dedicated team on 08000 294 592 to buy or top up their card, it means they don’t have to worry about having cash or sharing their bank details.

But not everyone is lucky enough to have someone they can turn to in these challenging times, so we’re taking things one step further with our Community Shopping Scheme.

We’re co-operating with local authorities, as well as local community groups up and down the country – including national running club, parkrun, and Co-op members – to connect our most vulnerable customers with a local volunteer who’ll use the Community Shopping card to pay for and deliver their groceries.

Get involved

You can volunteer or encourage others to sign up by using our new online platform, Co-operate.

The new ‘online community centre’ that connects people and organisations, Co-operate is helping to keep people connected during this national crisis.

We’ve made some changes to the platform to make sure we’re helping those most vulnerable on both a local and national level. From getting food and other essentials, right through to help accessing online classes and activities.

On Co-operate you can:

Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO explains how the Community Shopping Scheme is so integral to supporting our communities:

We know there are many customers who are unable to reach our stores to get vital supplies and we’re pleased to be able to offer these customers a safe and simple payment solution.

We also know that there are many people who want to help but just don’t know how. Now more than ever is the time for co-operation and we’re working with the Government and all of our local communities and partners to best support those that are in need and ensure nobody goes without food.

Spread the word

If you know of any members and customers who are staying at home and would benefit from a Co-op Community Shopping Card, please encourage them to call us for free on 08000 294 592, and we’ll also connect them with a local volunteer or organisation in their area if they need further support.

Please share the scheme across your social media using Social Hub too.