Co-op store provides a lifeline to Calow's vulnerable residents and hospital workers during pandemic

A food store that has provided a lifeline for a community and neighbouring hospital is celebrating its first anniversary.
Gary Bonsall, manager of  Central England Co-op store in Calow.Gary Bonsall, manager of  Central England Co-op store in Calow.
Gary Bonsall, manager of Central England Co-op store in Calow.

The Central England Co-op store in Calow, has supported vulnerable residents by teaming up with St Peter’s Church and volunteers from the parish council to create a service to ensure elderly and housebound villagers’ needs were met during lockdown.

Store manager Gary Bonsall said “We have had our challenges, but the team has really pulled together through the Covid pandemic. The team has all worked for each other and supported each through these challenging times. It’s like a family more than a team.“We’ve developed close ties with the hospital and the local community which has been great. We had a handwritten thank you from the head of the hospital saying that we always made it safe for staff coming in and kept the queues down for them, so they could get what they needed quickly, which we worked hard to do.”

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The store opened in the former Somerset House pub on Top Road last August. Gary said: “There were some people locally who weren’t sure when we opened because historically this was a pub, and some wanted the pub to come back, but it had been empty for a number of years.

“However, we have had a huge amount of positive comments and people coming in saying they could not have managed without us, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable.”