By April Armstrong, Local Giving Manager

We’ve got great news – our members have raised an incredible £17.3m for nearly 4,500 local causes through the latest round of the Local Community Fund, which has just come to an end.

From today, you’ll see the £17m figure being highlighted on our TV ad showcasing the Local Community Fund as one of our key differentiators.

Thank you to all our colleague members from across all our businesses who’ve shopped with us. Through your 1% and money raised from the single use carrier bag levy, the money causes are set to receive will help them make a positive difference in their communities – you can read about one of our causes below.

We’ve got some really exciting things planned for The Big Co-op Payout which is taking place between 20-23 November, with colleagues in our stores and funeral homes celebrating alongside causes.

MARTINEAU GARDENS

Case study – Looking after our local community’s physical and mental wellbeing

My name is Gill and I’m the Director of Martineau Gardens , which is based near the city centre in Birmingham. We work all year to support adults and young people living with a range of physical and mental health issues. The money we’ll receive from the Local Community Fund will enable us to enhance our Therapeutic Horticulture placements.

We’re a bit of a green oasis for people who live in the city to come and visit and volunteer. Our staff work with a mix of people through our Therapeutic Horticulture programme so that everyone who volunteers on the programme is contributing to the best of their ability, and learning about plants, the environment and each other.

Through our policy of allowing volunteers to attend for as long as they need, a closely-knit community of individuals has grown from the Therapeutic Horticulture programme. This has allowed many vulnerable volunteers to build a sense of belonging at their own pace. Many of our volunteers experience multiple challenges and disabilities, so this approach is vital to ensure that each volunteer’s needs are met.

The money we’re about to receive from the Co-op’s Local Community Fund, will really help us continue to offer 80 placements a year to adults from Greater Birmingham, many of whom have mental health issues, learning disabilities, brain injuries and/or live with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These volunteers maintain our beautiful gardens and help to ensure they remain open to the public free of charge.

It’s amazing what can be achieved simply by being a Co-op Member, thank you!

The next round of causes are all linked to skills, wellbeing and spaces – the key areas of focus for Co-operate 2022 – please log into your account now to choose the local cause you want to support in your area for the next year.

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. […] This week we’re celebrating with local causes up and down the country who’ll be receiving the £17m that members have raised for local causes through the latest round of our Local Community Fund. […]

  2. Hi Jacki. Thanks for sharing your views and highlighting that some local causes need more immediate support than the longer funding partnership we offer through our Co-op Local Community Fund.

    As a Co-op, it’s so important that our values and principles drive everything we do. So having opportunities to support local causes through a variety of mechanisms is absolutely key. That’s why we have the more ‘instant’ opportunities, such as FoodShare which enables our business to provide good quality, edible food to people in need and our Donation Policy also provides support to up to £250, which includes raffles prizes etc. Regional Managers in Funeralcare also hold a budget for similar requests.

    The Local Community Fund on the other hand, enables colleagues to build stronger partnerships with local groups over a period of time. (This too also has additional benefits in terms membership promotion and trade). So far we’ve supported over 16,000 local causes across the UK, so with this scale and impact we’re able to support more meaningful and sustainable projects which make a huge difference to local communities.

    I think we should all be incredibly proud to work for a business with a genuine commitment to communities. Thanks, April

  3. The 1% is 17million donated directly from our profits, wasted. I can understand the 5% to our customers, and often they spend it at once in Co-op Food so it is driving customers to stay with us, but 17 million in huge chunks to a very few ‘good causes’ ? I would rather that we went back to having community local budgets so we can target smaller amounts to many more people, spreading the happiness rather than giving massive amounts to only three or four groups a year, that have to wait 6 months to get it. We used to donate immediate help where needed, now if I get asked to provide a raffle prize to a community hall raising money to give lonely pensioners a Christmas meal, or take them on a day out, and I have to say ‘oh sorry, I cant., you have to apply to be a local cause instead’ They don’t need it in 6 months they need help now, we always used to be famous for this, we would go halves with Food and do an amazing hamper of all Co-op Produce, now we are not allowed. We need to rethink this please.

    • Hi Jackie I totally agree on the local community budget that has been slashed over the past few years. Many of the 1% charities take the money and Run and have no contact after which is sad but the truth. 3 years ago I helped raise over 60K with events and fundraising for the local community, this year it is only about 25K and the majority of the events I attend the donations ie hampers etc come out of my own pocket not the co op. the same with sponsorships as now we do not do this other local funeral directors are now sponsoring choirs and football teams and taking over where we have invested years of commitment. I never knock charity work and its amazing the co op do the 1% but you are missing out on your staff knowing your local community but now not being able to help. yes please rethink as we will loose the local contacts and unfortunately this has happened. massive shame 😦

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