VIDEO: How The Moira Co-op Team Became Community Champions During Lockdown

A Co-op store manager and his team at Moira have become local champions in the community, inspiring colleagues and winning the admiration of grateful residents.

By Graham Hill

Posted: Friday, 07th August 2020 4:46 pm

Local initiatives

A Co-op store manager and his team at Moira have become local champions in the community, inspiring colleagues and winning the admiration of grateful residents.

Managing a store is about making a difference. Mitchell Brookes and his Co-op colleagues are an outstanding example of that.

Like all at the Co-op, his brief for members and shoppers who use the store is to make it a hub for the community.

Mitchell sums up that role perfectly and 2020 has proved to be an eventful year for him, and the store, so far.

When Mitchell helped vulnerable local people by delivering essential supplies during the floods that struck North West Leicestershire in February, he could not have known what was to follow.

Just weeks later, he was offering the same services during the coronavirus crisis and making sure people who needed help, in the vicinity of his Shortheath Road store, received it.

Mitchell's idea was based on aid given by him, and his team at Moira Co-op, when many roads in the area were flood-affected last winter.

Back then, he put out a message on social media which read: "I will offer to personally deliver and provide essentials of milk, bread, etc, if the elderly, etc, are in need. I'm the store manager for Moira Co-op and if I can help, I will! Stay safe everyone!"

Those last few words were being used again when the Covid-19 lockdown was introduced in March.

Mitchell stepped up again to make sure that nobody in Moira, and the surrounding areas, was left wanting at a time when people were being told to stay indoors.

"We'd already provided a service during the floods, but when the pandemic started, we built on that, it was something that had been organic and natural, we were really happy with how that went," he explained.

"We sent out some notes and cards to offer deliveries, but also, just a chat for local people who were going through a tough time.

"Nobody knows what anyone else is really going through, and there isn't too much around in terms of shops until you get to the Ashby area. So I just made it known that people could give me a call.

"We'd also do things like going to sing Happy Birthday to children at their houses.

"But I also said that if anyone was self-isolating and couldn't get out of the house, then I'd be more than happy to make deliveries.

"We reached around 130 deliveries but it's maybe only three or four a week now for any extreme cases where people are maybe having operations planned. We're helping the really, really vulnerable people now.

"Generally, throughout the height of the pandemic we provided a delivery service. It's something we did to support the community."

Mitchell said the Co-op service was not restricted only to Moira.

"We've been out to Measham, Donisthorpe and into Ashby" he said.

"People said they liked our friendly service which was really sweet of them. There's been plenty of people who would text us and we'd go and deliver to them.

"When we first started, it was just me, but my team got involved when they saw how much it was impacting the community.

"Most of the team have done a delivery themselves, they've taken calls too. It's been a really humbling experience.

"When people needed us the most, that's when we tried to maintain availability."

Mitchell admits things did not always go to plan with the entire country in lockdown: "We've had to take the rough with the smooth during the past three months, but always following Government guidelines," he added.


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