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Co-Op team raises spirits of older residents while helping to combat food and flower waste

21 June 2017

Co Op Food Flower Waste 1

Elizabeth Gardens, a Hanover Housing Association Extra Care scheme in Thurrock, recently benefited from a delivery of high quality produce which would otherwise be destined for disposal by the local Co-Op Food Operations Distribution Centre.

The Co-Op’s Team Manager Andy Turnau and fellow team member Shayne Keily, from the Food Operations Logistics Service in West Thurrock, delivered a selection of lovely flowers, strawberries, bananas, cherries and plants for the estate’s communal gardens, much to the delight of the residents.  

Elizabeth Gardens caters for older people in Stifford Clay, Grays. Whilst residents live in their own flats, they also have the security of an on-site care team and specialised housing staff.  There are also a restaurant and communal facilities, such as a hairdressers and shop.  

Andy Turnau from Co-Op explained: 'With the fruit, sometimes suppliers send too much or stores cut short their orders, so we have too many items on site that need to be disposed of, because they are unwanted but are in perfect condition. If we didn’t do this, the Co-Op would need to pay for disposing of the flowers and fruit, via a skip, which costs hundreds of pounds. This is a shame for perfectly good produce that is just simply not required, or just because the boxes are damaged or we have too much stock. We like to think that we spread a little colour around Thurrock, along with a touch of happiness, free of charge.'

Residents and staff alike were very thankful for the generosity of the Co-Op, and surprised to realise that these items, if not given away, would just be destined for disposal via a skip at the Co-Op’s distribution centre.

Hanover resident Joyce Frame said: 'We were so surprised with the flower and fruit delivery, it was so thoughtful and appreciated. When my daughter visited she arranged the flowers in a vase and we both said how lovely they were. I also enjoyed eating the delicious fruit, in particular the cherries and strawberries as I could eat a handful here and there, as and when I fancied them! I couldn’t believe how many flowers there were, my friends and I thought it was such a lovely sight to see and so pretty.'

The Co-Op's tackling loneliness campaign believes that care in the community is the key to success, and brings a smile to people who may not be able to get out. They are currently collecting for the British Red Cross and to date have raised over £6 million for the charity.