Protecting colleagues, customers & local suppliers stepping up to the plate.
Published 27 Mar 2020
Update as of 27/03/20
As we continue to support members, colleagues, customers and communities through this unprecedented period, I wanted to share with you some of our latest updates, particularly around Food and Childcare.
Protecting our colleagues and customers
Our priority is and will remain the protection and welfare of colleagues. We have implemented a range of measures to support our colleagues and customers in our trading sites, including floor stickers to aid social distancing, enhanced cleaning, and limited contact at pay points. We are encouraging the use of cashless payments wherever possible and the contactless limit will be increased to £45 from 1st April. We are doing everything we can to get more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to colleagues who need them as quickly as possible and from today we started to install protective screens across our stores.
We are incredibly proud of how we work with local farmers and suppliers and our collaboration with them in recent days has been key to us ensuring we can continue to meet the needs of our customers. We are now working with over 200 local suppliers, from meat and dairy farmers to drinks producers, to enable us to offer additional types of product and availability of some key lines to complement our normal ranges. I’d like to, again, offer my personal thanks to them on behalf of all of us, and we will continue to face this challenge together. We will be featuring some of these local suppliers over the coming days and will share their stories with you here.
Supporting and protecting the most vulnerable in our community is something which continues to be incredibly important to us. It’s vital that the most vulnerable stay home at the moment to protect themselves, and our colleagues are proactively working with local volunteering groups to help ensure that we can get essential goods to them. We will be contacting our members that we know are included in the government’s vulnerable categories in the coming days to offer our support.
Our priority shopping hour also continues to run from 9.30 – 10.30 Monday to Friday and we ask customers to respectfully leave that time for carers of the elderly and vulnerable, as well as our NHS workers, to complete their shopping.
Wherever possible, our Childcare nurseries remain open to provide an essential service for vulnerable children and those of key workers. The safety and wellbeing of those children, their parents and our colleagues remains our number one priority.
In addition to following all of the Government guidance for educational settings, which includes enhanced cleaning across all nurseries, frequent handwashing for both staff and children, and safe social distancing, we are using a specialist cleaning company to disinfect the nurseries, including 8 this weekend.
This is an unprecedented and ever-changing situation and we continue to review our approach on a daily basis.
I can’t thank our amazing colleagues enough for their dedication through this uniquely challenging period. It’s because of you that we are able to continue to serve our communities and I am very proud of our work across the Society.
I’m equally as proud of the co-operative values being lived through all areas of the community. Members, customers and colleagues, please continue to support local groups, food banks and your neighbours most in need and, together, we will get through this.
Please do keep up to date with the latest government advice, which is detailed here.
Phil Ponsonby, Group CEO