Schoolkids are guests of honour as local store unveils revamp - The Rugby Observer

Schoolkids are guests of honour as local store unveils revamp

Rugby Editorial 8th Dec, 2023 Updated: 8th Dec, 2023   0

EXCITED Rugby schoolchildren were the stars of the show as a neighbourhood shop unveiled its its biggest revamp in more than a decade.

Pupils from Bilton Infant School joined Father Christmas to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of a £375,000 facelift to their local Co-op.

The school was also handed a £500 donation to fund new library books.

The store now has a wider range of products, a new food-to-go area, new flooring, shelving and signage.

Steve Browne, general manager of Heart of England Co-op’s 38-store food division, said he was also proud of how green the store is.

He said: “The new refrigeration system is equipped with energy saving doors, and there is LED lighting throughout the building.

“We’ve removed the natural gas boiler to save on carbon emissions, and green alternatives are now being used for hot water and heating.”

Mr Browne also confirmed plans were in place to install solar panels on the building.

“The environment constantly tops our list when it comes to new developments,” he said. “We also try to employ local contractors where possible. The solar panels, for example, will be fitted by a Coventry firm.”

The Bilton store will also continue to fight food poverty in partnership with the Midlands FareShare charity. Last year, surplus food from the Society’s convenience stores provided over 140,000 meals for people struggling to make ends meet. Sending the food to local people instead of refuse tips also preventing 92.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The Heart of England Co-op is an independent co-operative society operating in Coventry, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire – and chief executive Ali Kurji says many people wrongly assume it is part of a giant national organisation.

He said: “We are one of the last remaining fully independent co-operative societies. Our administrative headquarters in Coventry are just a stroll away from where we were founded in 1832.

“Our shareholders are effectively our 170,000 members who are also our customers.

“What also sets us apart is the level of support we give to local communities. Our Helping Hearts Scheme alone has handed out £1.2million since it was launched in 2000, and we pledge to give away at least £50,000 a year.”

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