Co-op Midcounties has signed a new contract with a family butcher which has been in business for 225 years but was facing closing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Following the announcement of the closure of leisure and hospitality businesses, as well as school and college, Aldens, which was established in 1793, saw an 85 per cent reduction in orders overnight.

However, Co-op Midcounties has now agreed to enter into a contract with Aldens to supply lamb, pork and chicken across all Midcounties stores in Sherston, Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon from Monday, March 30.

Matthew Alden, managing director of Aldens said: “We are delighted to be working with Co-op Midcounties.

“Together we will work very hard in bringing a great selection of produce to their customers in these challenging times.”

The Oxford-based Aldens was established in 1793 and is now run by the seventh generation of the Alden family.

The butchers supply universities, restaurants, hotels and pubs, and at the start of the year secured a four year contract with the Houses of Parliament.

Phil Ponsonby, Chief Executive of Co-op Midcounties said: “We’re delighted to have partnered with Aldens to supply the finest quality produce to our stores across the Cotswolds.

“The deal will help to supplement our existing supplies and ensure that we are able to continue to meet the significantly increased demand we’re seeing from customers across the region.

“We’re particularly pleased to be able to support a local business with such an outstanding heritage. Since the coronavirus outbreak began, we’ve increased the number of local suppliers we work with and are now partnered with over 200 local businesses.

“This is partly to enable us to offer additional types of product and ensure the availability of some key lines to complement our normal ranges, but is also about supporting the communities in which we operate by doing what we can to support local businesses during these unprecedented times.”