Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op has teamed up with social services at Oxfordshire County Council to launch a new home shopping service for the elderly and housebound. The society beat off competition from Tesco, Sainsbury and Iceland to win the contract, coming up with a bespoke phone based ordering system in seven weeks. The council pays the society a fee per delivery. Named Co-op Store to Door, the scheme is an extension of a project the society has run in Swindon for more than a decade. Technology provider Pandanet made the service flexible enough to adapt to web based ordering, enabling the society to develop the service for more computer-literate customers in future. Food division controller Bill Laird said the technology would be made available to other societies to work on similar schemes. The society worked with the Co-operative Group to develop the catalogue, which stocks moe than 4,000 lines. About 1,000 customers fielded by the council can select products from a catalogue and phone in orders to a custom-built call centre in Carterton. More than 30 staff have already been recruited. Orders are sourced from five stores in the catchment area and delivered by a fleet of nine vans kitted out with fridges and freezers. There is same day delivery for orders received before 10am. The scheme has enormous potential, said Laird, with an additional 3,000 customers coming online shortly and the possibility of similar tie-ups with other councils within the geographical area covered by Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester, the fourth largest retail co-op in the UK. Laird said: "This amounts to a significant investment on both sides. We've really found a niche in the market. "This perfectly complements our role as a community retailer with a social conscience." {{NEWS }}