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Safety first for young visitors to Co-operative with a difference

May 12, 2010

The Co-operative Group has opened a new food store in Rotherham - but it will have no permanent staff and won’t sell anything.

Instead, the latest outlet will help youngsters keep safe and stay on the right side of the law.

The consumer-owned retailer has joined forces with South Yorkshire Police to transform a corner shop into an accurate mock-up of a Co-operative store inside the Lifewise Centre – an interactive education centre in Rotherham.

The store, complete with well-stocked shelves and the same shop-fronts and fascia as other Co-operative food stores, will be used to help teach children about issues such as retail crime, antisocial behaviour and community safety.

Pupils from Seven Hills School in Sheffield visited the Centre and took part in a scenario where they witnessed a fake shop lifting incident. The mock store was then officially opened by Co-operative area loss prevention manager Ryan Latham and chair of The Co-operative’s South Yorkshire and Chesterfield area members’ committee Dot Miller with Chief Inspector Paul Varley. 

Said Ryan: “The Co-operative works in conjunction with police forces across the country on a number of community initiatives and we are delighted to be involved with the Lifewise Centre.

“The centre is a fantastic educational resource to promote community safety and educate children and young people on a range of real life situations.

“With the support of our South Yorkshire and Chesterfield members’ area committee which has funded the project, we have created a real Co-operative food store complete with a working till and CCTV cameras which we are sure will prove to be a very valuable educational tool.”

The Safety Centre provides hands-on, interactive education for children and young people in realistic settings. As well as The Co-operative store, the centre includes a series of specially-designed sets, including railway lines, bus interchange, houses and a pub, to teach safety and responsible behaviour.

Duncan Batty, Lifewise development manager, added: “We are immensely grateful to The Co-operative for its contribution and help in upgrading our shop facility into a ‘proper’ Co-operative store. This interactive facility will benefit communities throughout South Yorkshire.”

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