Lincolnshire Co-op has launched a programme of community support during the coronavirus outbreak to help vulnerable members of the community, as well as NHS staff.

Several initiatives have been developed to support those who need it most:

Community support groups

Lincolnshire Co-op food stores and pharmacies across the county have paired up with local community groups which are supporting the most vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis.

Thanks to help from the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum and Volunteer Co-ordination Cell, Lincolnshire Co-op has linked each of its food stores and pharmacies to a dedicated community group so that its members can be given a pass to pick up essential groceries or prescriptions and take them to isolated people in the area. In total more than 100 groups have benefited from this service.

Shopping vouchers scheme

During the coronavirus outbreak Lincolnshire Co-op has also launched a shopping vouchers scheme to enable volunteers, as well as friends or family to pay for the shopping of those who are isolating.

The vouchers, which are first ordered over the phone, are then sent out by recorded first-class post and delivered to a chosen address. They can then be used as payment in Lincolnshire Co-op food stores, allowing those who are self-isolating and need essentials picked up to nominate someone to buy the shopping on their behalf.

The voucher scheme avoids people having to hand over a bank card or physical cash to someone else.

NHS fundraising campaign

To show its appreciation for NHS workers, Lincolnshire Co-op also launched a campaign to raise funds for local NHS charities. A rainbow-themed day was recently held across all its stores which alone raised over £3,000.

More money was added to the pot through fundraising in stores, an online quiz supported by Lincs FM and the Lincolnite and generous donations from customers and colleagues. The final amount raised came to £17,808.

The money raised has been donated to: United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Funds, The Health Tree Foundation (Northern Lincolnshire and Goole), Sherwood Forest Hospitals Charity, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust (Kings Lynn) and York Hospitals Trust and the Wish Foundation in Hull.

Lincolnshire Co-op has also donated 4,944 packs of wipes to the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.

Lincolnshire Co-op Community Manager Sam Turner said: “The coronavirus pandemic quickly started to impact our communities – and it’s thanks to working together that we’ve been able to care for the health and wellbeing of those who need it most.

“Like everyone else in the country, we’re incredibly proud of our NHS and want to show all the workers how much we appreciate them. That’s why we launched a campaign to raise funds for our local NHS charities and we were overwhelmed by the amount already raised.”

Supporting vulnerable people

Until September this year, the Society is also using its Community Champions scheme to support charities which have seen a huge increase in the demand for their services as a result of the pandemic.

This includes raising funds for mental health charities and groups supporting victims of domestic abuse. The money raised will go towards different services such as helplines, therapy sessions, crisis cafes and community hubs.

Foodbanks in stores

From cereal packets to tins of tuna, Lincolnshire Co-op is encouraging people to donate a variety of food in a bid to boost the reserves of local food banks and community larders which are tackling hunger.

Collection bins can be found in each one of Lincolnshire Co-op’s food stores, giving generous shoppers an easy and convenient place to drop off a donation.