Over £44,500 donated to foodbanks and 17,500 people supported at local warm hubs: the East of England Co-op helps to keep the region warm and fed this winter

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The foodbank donation total includes £14,660 raised by East of England Co-op shoppers

At the end of last year, the largest independent retailer in the East of England donated £100,000 from its Christmas marketing budget to help people in the region keep warm and fed this winter. 

Working with Suffolk Community Foundation, as well as Norfolk and Essex Community Foundations, £70,000 was split among warm hubs and has provided a warm space, food and drink, guidance and signposting to additional support to over 17.5k people across 191 warm hubs in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.   

Vicki Mann, Manager of Chantry Library in Ipswich, one of the organisations benefiting from the East of England Co-op's warm hub donation, said: “We offer a warm space for people within the community. We’re such a diverse group and we offer many different things. We’re open as a community hub, where people can just come and be themselves and meet new people. It’s a warm space for people to come, which is needed at the moment, especially with the cost of living. We have been able to offer these services and activities and provide these warm spaces because of the generosity of not only our local community but the partners within the community. The East of England Co-op has always been extremely supportive. Everyone is coming together to support their own community. Thank you!” 

The remaining £30,000 from the local retailer’s donation went to 25 local foodbanks. East of England shoppers across East Anglia have helped to raise this total to over £44,500 with £14,660 being donated in store at the till, in collection buckets and through the purchase of foodbank donation gift cards. 

Kat Reading, Community Development Manager at the East of England Co-op said: “We’re blown away by the generosity of our customers this winter. We know that household budgets are extremely stretched, but our community has, yet again, pulled together to support each other.” 

Hannah Worsley, Project Manager for Norwich Foodbank, one of the foodbanks supported by the East of England Co-op, said: “We generally see an increase in need / referrals during winter months as the 'heat or eat' struggle for so many takes hold. We are receiving a lot more referrals of people who are struggling with costs and their income is no longer enough to make ends meet. We used to see the majority of cases were 'crisis' and one-off issues that needed support or resolution, but more and more we're seeing people in need generally with no clear answer to how things will improve. We are very grateful to the East of England Co-op and customers for this generous support.” 

The East of England Co-op's winter support ended a significant year of giving for the local retailer, with more than £400,000 going to local charities and good causes in 2022. 

From buying a foodbank donation gift card to donating to your local foodbank, there are many ways you can support your community via the East of England Co-op. For more information, visit www.eastofengland.coop.