Frequently Asked Questions
How did Sunshine Co-operative begin?
The quote, “Somedays, you just have to create your own sunshine” explains why we set up Sunshine Co-operative. We felt that projects relating to the local food movement were mostly happening outside of the Sunderland area and as residents of the City we wanted this type of service ourselves: access to fresh, healthy food grown or produced in our local area. We’d experienced this while living in other parts of the world. Why couldn’t we share this experience here!
Why does Sunderland and the surrounding areas need Sunshine Co-operative?
We felt that the local food movement was too important to ignore and the benefits could make a huge difference to our community. Who wouldn’t want to support local growers and producers to make extraordinary food products that we can all savour and enjoy! We wanted to make it easy for people to access fresh, healthy and local food which is why we decided to set up a flexible delivery service with only a few clicks on a computer, to order.
What is Sunshine Co-operative CIC?
We are an online retailer of locally sourced, sustainable and organic products to communities in the North East via ecommerce, local delivery and local markets. The Co-operative has made a commitment: to play our part in improving the area in which we live – both environmentally and economically and through health and well-being. We believe everyone, whatever their background, has the right to live in abundance. Our goal is to help create that in our very own corner of the globe. We aim to do that by developing and supporting a system of growing and distributing food in the North-East.
Our focus is to promote healthy, local, organic or sustainably grown and produced food. As a co-operative we wish to nourish a sense of community between local growers, producers and consumers; increasing access to sustainable and organic food, raising awareness of food sustainability, stimulating community involvement in food production and growing and demonstrating that food has an impact on our health, economy and environment.
We chose to be a co-operative as we believe it provides the best democratic structure. Members can vote and have a say in how we are run.
“The co-operative movement is a dynamic, creative mindset that roots long-term social value inside financial value. When you accord each individual the dignity of ownership you unleash creativity and innovation on a scale few traditional business leaders dare dream of.”Margaret Heffernan,A Bigger Prize 2014.Heffernan, A Bigger Prize, 2014
We are also a Community Interest Company which means we have set ourselves goals to be of benefit to our local community. Being a CIC also means that all the profits are ploughed back into the Co-operative.
Our goals include:
- To promote health and well-being through combined healthy eating and movement programmes, recipe sharing
- To create a greater sense of community between all our suppliers.
- To build a stronger community by creating a stronger local economy – increasing local sourcing and growing with as much food as possible coming from within a 30 mile radius of Sunderland city centre.
Why should you buy from us instead of from supermarkets?
The food industry has mostly been delocalised, with huge supermarket chains taking up the lion share of the market. Over the years, this has caused of a lot of closures in small businesses such as butchers, bakers, green grocers and the loss of their counterparts such as mills, livestock owners and small farmers and as well as artisanal traders. However, there is a strong reaction happening against this and we are part of the movement that wishes to reinstate a pride in everything local and support local entrepreneurs who lovingly create and craft food for our enjoyment without it having to travel miles to reach us. Money spent on local businesses is recirculated within the local economy for longer. Pound for pound, spending money in smaller independent local food outlets supports three times the number of jobs than a national grocery chain.
What are the benefits of buying from us?
- We are proud to provide you with products lovingly and passionately made by our local suppliers and growers. Buying local products keeps traditional skills alive, such as cheese making, honey production, artisan pies and preserves etc. These are highly skilled cottage industries.
- Your food is traceable. We showcase our suppliers and you can see exactly where your food is coming from. You can even trace how many miles your food travelled to get to us!
- Buying local is more economical. Less time spent in transport lowers a community’s carbon footprint. There is need for less packaging, which equates to less waste, particularly plastic waste. You won’t find out vegetables shrink wrapped in plastic to avoid damage during long transportation!
- Fruit and vegetables are most nutritious when ripe. Nutrients begin to dimish as soon as the fruit or veg is picked. If picked too early, to travel long distances, nutrients are not fully developed and gasses are used to delay their ripening. Local food that doesn’t travel too far can be ripened as Mother Nature intended and picked when its nutritional value is highest.
- Our food co-operative encourages a sense of community between everyone involved with the food chain – from Nature and the animals who benefit from sustainable growing in our countryside to the growers, producers, retailers, experts in the field and to you, the customers. Stay tuned to our community events and programmes to see how you can become more involved.
Where do we source our food from?
We order as much of our produce as locally as we can – within Tyne & Wear, Durham, Northumberland and Teeside. When we are unable to source products from our locality we supplement from the Scottish Borders, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.
If products are unavailable within these areas we source British first and then internationally using our suppliers as partners. We also support local businesses who import speciality food products from abroad, especially if they cannot be grown in our climate.
How can I order?
Our website is very user-friendly. Just add the products you desire to your shopping cart and pay as you check-out. You can also order from us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 0191 4471990 Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm. If you email us, please wait for a confirmation to ensure everything you desire is in stock and to arrange payment. If you order by phone, we will confirm with you if your order is in stock or ring you back to let you know.
How do I pay for my order?
If you order online, the website will direct you to the secure check-out when you have completed your order. If have sent us an order by email, we will ring you back to take payment before your order is placed. If you order by phone, please have your payment details ready. We will not hold onto your card details.
When do I need to order?
All online orders need to be placed by midnight every Sunday. If ordering by phone, orders need to be to us no later than 10.30 am Monday morning.
You can also set up repeat orders online for our veg and fruit boxes. This service can be paused when you go on holiday.
When will I receive my order?
Orders will be received by you on Thursdays. We can’t give you an exact time of delivery, but please let us know in the Delivery Information box when you check out, any special delivery requirements you have.
Where will I receive my order?
We can deliver to your home or workplace. This service is free for orders of £15 and above, otherwise there is a small delivery charge of £2.50. You can also choose to pick-up from our designated pick-up point at The Eagle Building, Unit 1, 201 High Street East, Sunderland SR1 2AX. This may be beneficial if you live close-by, don’t order above £15 or if you want to pay in cash.
Postcodes we currently deliver to:
SR1, SR2, SR3, SR4, SR5, SR6 (Sunderland), SR7 (Seaham), SR8 (Peterlee), DH1, DH6, DH7, DH9 (Durham), DH2 and DH3 (Chester-le-Street), DH4 and DH5 (Houghton-Le-Spring), NE2, NE3, NE4, NE5, NE6, NE7, NE16 (Newcastle), NE8, NE9, NE10, NE11 (Gateshead), NE31 (Hebburn), NE32 (Jarrow), NE33 and NE34 (South Shields), NE35 (Boldon Colliery), NE36 (East Boldon), NE37 and NE38 (Washington).