Southern Co-op colleagues went litter picking for Co-operatives Fortnight

Seven colleagues from Southern Co-op’s food stores in Brighton, Four Marks and Carisbrooke volunteered for the big cleaning

Staff from Southern Co-op marked Co-op Fortnight by visiting roadsides and woodland to clear up rubbish.

A national campaign led by Co-operatives UK, the fortnight (24 June – 7 July) was set up raise awareness of co-operative businesses.

Ryan Kitson and Lewis Jenkins litter picking near the Carisbrooke store

Seven colleagues from Southern food stores in Brighton, Four Marks and Carisbrooke volunteered for the big cleaning, collecting a total of 13 bags of litter. Three of them were litter picking in Brighton.

Jade Reed, from Southern’s store at Sussex University – run in partnership with the Students Union – said: “As our store backs onto a national park, we thought what better place to support the local community and keep it clean.

“We’ve loved taking part in 30 Days Wild run with the Wildlife Trusts and thought this was a great way to get involved in Co-op Fortnight.”

Three colleagues spent several hours at the woods at Stanmer Park, from where they collected a total of six bags of rubbish, from crisp and chocolate packets to cans of drinks.

Lewis Jenkins, from Southern Co-op’s Carisbrooke High Street store, said: “We found that the majority of rubbish was close to one of the nearby schools and, other than this, the people of Carisbrooke should be very proud of how tidy and relatively litter free the whole area is.

“The bulk of the rubbish was soft drink containers and sweet wrappers. We covered just over five miles and filled six bags. We were really impressed with how well-Skept the majority of Carisbrooke is.”

Molly MacDonald from the Four Marks store

Another colleague in Four Marks devoted the end of her shift to collecting rubbish along a nearby main road.

Jessica Hughes, community investment manager at Southern Co-op, said: “We always try and do something during Co-op Fortnight but these colleagues used their own initiatives to make a difference.

“These experiences show that you can make a difference even if you just have one hour to spare.”

The initiative formed part of Southern Co-op’s community engagement programme called ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’, which addresses four key social themes – promoting ‘Greener’, ‘Healthier’, ‘Safer’, and ‘More Inclusive’ neighbourhoods. As part of the programme, colleagues are encouraged to volunteer their time to make a difference in their local neighbourhood. The society operates over 250 food and funeral branches across the south of England.