Items being bagged up by a Central England Co-op employee

Vulnerable people living in Lichfield and Burntwood will be able to access food and essentials during the coronavirus lockdown thanks to a new trial project.

Run by Central England Co-op and Lichfield District Council, the scheme will see a community hub created at the retailer’s Boley Park store.

The local authority will identify vulnerable members of the community, gather orders and pass them onto the store who will then create a package and take payment over the phone, before the items are delivered by the council.

Cllr Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for community and housing, said:

“We’re really pleased to be part of this trial and look forward to helping our residents who are most in need.

“As we have limited capacity, we are prioritising this service for our residents across the district who are self-isolating and have no one who can help them with their shopping and essential items.

“This is a great example of local government and the private sector coming together in difficult times to offer innovative solutions to support the local community.”

Cllr Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council

“Make a difference”

The link-up is the first of its kind in the country and could see the system rolled out at other Central England Co-op stores nationally if it proves successful.

The retailer’s chief executive Debbie Robinson said:

Debbie Robinson, chief executive of Central England Co-operative

“Co-operation is key to our communities coming together during this uncertain time and this is why we have linked up with Lichfield District 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.

“We have no doubt that this will be a success and 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.”

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op

“A huge group effort”

Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, added:

“I am proud of all those playing a part in this new scheme and, after participating in a training session remotely, I will be joining council officers in phoning residents who may be at risk to see if we can help them.

“This is a huge group effort and it’s all hands on deck to help our residents in this time of need.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council

The council will not be asking for any payment information when they make the initial contact with vulnerable residents.

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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