Co-op leaders take to the road to tackle loneliness

19 August 2016


• Co-op leadership team take part in a 2-day challenge to raise money for British Red Cross, and help raise awareness of loneliness and isolation in the UK
• To date, the challenge has raised over £5,000 with more still to be counted

Leaders from the Co-op’s Consumer Services division took part in a ‘2 days to fundraise’ event across Cumbria, with the goal of raising funds and tackling loneliness and isolation within the UK for the Co-op’s charity partner, the British Red Cross.

Leaders from the Manchester-based Consumer Services team, which incorporates Co-op’s Funeralcare, Legal Services and Insurance businesses, completed various challenges across the region, ranging from car washing to bag packing and taking over a British Red Cross store.

Loneliness affects over five million people, with research by the Co-op our revealing that one in seven Co-op members and customers, regardless of their age, background or community are affected by the issue.

Fundraising activity kicked off on August 17th with a charity car wash in Penrith, where Rod Bulmer, CEO of Consumer Services and his team got stuck in, cleaning up members of the local community’s cars, for a donation to the British Red Cross.

Co-op’s Funeralcare colleagues showed their support and showcased some of their alternative hearses including a 1953 Vauxhall Wyvern and Land Rover hearse to draw in the crowds.

Following this, the team, which included Tim Cutting (Head of Corporate Development for Consumer Services), Richard Lancaster (Managing Director of Co-op Funeralcare) and Stuart Roberts (Managing Director of CFSMS), hosted an afternoon tea at the Carlisle funeral home, where they served coffee, tea and selection of cakes to members of the local community.

On day two, they split off into three groups and supported colleagues at three of the Co-op’s food stores; Warwick Bridge, Brampton and Dalston. They bag packed, helped customers in store and carried their shopping. 

To complete the 48-hour event, the leadership team headed back to Penrith, where they took over a British Red Cross store on Queens Street.

They helped to drum up sales, cleaned and arranged stock and undertook fundraising challenges such as their very own ‘Bargain Hunt’. This involved team members purchasing an item from the British Red Cross store in the mindset that they must re-sell it to colleagues in Manchester for the highest amount.

Rod Bulmer, CEO of Consumer Services, commented: 

“This is about us getting back to being Co-op. Community is in our DNA and it’s been our aim with these two days not only just to raise funds, but also to help raise awareness of the issue of isolation and loneliness in communities. We chose Cumbria because it was so badly affected by the floods, and we wanted to show our customers and members that our support continues long after their initial problems have been solved.”

Tracey Crich, Senior Community Fundraiser for the British Red Cross, added:

“The two-day list of activities were no easy feat, but the Co-op leadership team approached all of them with enthusiasm. It’s that kind of passion that will help us to bring the much-needed funds and support to people throughout the UK that are suffering from loneliness.”



Notes to Editors:

There are images available with this press release; please get in touch with the below contact if you would like them sent to you.

For further information and images, please contact:
Caroline Canty:
Emily Dalton:

About the Co-op Funeralcare:
Co-op Funeralcare is the UK’s leading funeral director and part of the Co-op Group, the UK’s largest co-op business, whose purpose is “Championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities.”
Further information is available at:

About the Co-op:
The Co-op, which is the UK’s largest co-operative business with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-op operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £11 billion.