Thousands of meals help locals across the South West

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2021 - 20:38

Around 52,000 meals have been donated to families and individuals in need across the South West thanks to members of a regional co-operative.

Southern Co-op is saying thank you to its members and customers who have used its food or funeral services and enabled funds to be donated to FareShare South West. The total donated to the charity is currently more than £19,000.

The praise comes during Co-op Fortnight which kicked off on Monday 21 June and will see co-operatives across the country celebrate the impact their members have had on society.

FareShare South West, based in Bristol, is one of a network of 21 similar centres located across the country and currently reaches organisations and families across Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall.

Holly Bramble, Southern Co-op's Community and Campaign Co-ordinator, said: "As a co-operative, every time someone buys their groceries from us or gets support from one of our funeral homes, it could be adding to the pot of money which gets donated to charities.

"Over the last year, FareShare has become a name that is instantly recognisable as a charity which has helped so many people struggling during the pandemic. Its networks have made such a difference. Thank you to our customers and members who have enabled this support of such an incredible cause."

International Day of Co-ops falls at the end of Co-op Fortnight on Saturday 3 July.

In Bristol, one community interest company supported by FareShare South West is Bristol Community Cafés - an idea thought up by Michelle Ford and her mother Gillian Flower on a mission to end the loneliness and isolation in the area.

Bristol Community Cafés has three cafes around Bristol, providing food to between 30 and 90 people every single week. They serve up the warmest welcome along side food and a chance to socialise. For many, it might be the only time they get a proper, home cooked hot meal each week.

Michelle said: "We'll use anything and turn it into something. The food from FareShare South West means we can produce hot meals for everyone and charge very little - and still have money for extra treats and special foods."

People at the cafés have seen a lot of change in their regulars since they first started visiting. Michelle recalls one gentleman, Morris, who used to be incredibly shy.

Michelle said: "Now though, he's the life and soul here - he's always dressing up, getting us laughing along with him. It's amazing the change in him."

To find out more about Bristol Community Cafes, visit Or for more information on Southern Co-op's community support, visit