We continue a full national operation to get food to vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis.

How Co-op are supporting FareShare’s network of charities – helping West Lothian Youth Action reach those who are most vulnerable

2 July 2020

West Lothian Youth Action works with children and young people aged 10-25. They offer a wide range of services including individual support, training and practical skills for young people who struggle at school. The charity has worked closely with FareShare for just under two years, providing a cooking on a budget community program using surplus food.

“Our role in the community has had to change completely due to the huge surge in the demand for food supplies. ”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Youth Action has had to react quickly to the crisis which has left many communities in desperate need of support. Helen Davis, Director of WLYA, explains:

“Our role in the community has had to change completely due to the huge surge in the demand for food supplies. We are working very closely with social work and social policy in the space of provision for kids on the child protection register. We now deliver parcels of food to their families as well as to shielding elderly people and those suffering most from the financial hardships that the crisis has caused.”

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic The Co-op made a commitment to help FareShare tackle hunger across the UK, supporting the charity’s delivery of supplies to charities with a generous donation of £1.5 million worth of food. Co-op also pulled its own Easter TV advertising campaign, donating the airtime (worth £2.5m) to raise money for FareShare's emergency coronavirus appeal. The campaign allowed customers to donate in Co-op stores and via text and even through their Co-op membership by donating their 5%. This has meant they have supported FareShare in delivering over 2.7m meals to those in need.

“The support we have received from the Co-op has had a substantial impact of the amount of people we can reach. We are providing up to 60 meals and between 30 to 50 food parcel deliveries a day to vulnerable people across the entirety of West Lothian.

“The fresh produce we have received, like carrots and potatoes, are used to cook meals and non-perishable goods are extremely valuable for families.

“Due to the crisis, we have had to move our office space into an entirely new building. We have completely transformed the building into a food hub, with more fridge and freezer storage to fit in with legislation and safety guidelines.

“The substantial amount of support we have received from FareShare thanks to The Co-op’s donations has helped enable us to keep our community fridge and pantry stocked and open to the public,” says Helen.

Jo Whitfield, CEO, Co-op Food, said: “The Co-op has a critical role to play in supporting our members, customers and colleagues, as well as the local communities that our stores sit at the heart of. Food banks have never been more important, so it makes sense that we provide support to help FareShare keep people fed and watered during this unprecedented time.”