Doing the right thing is in our DNA. And that’s needed now, more than ever. Every day I’m bursting with pride at the inspirational things you’re doing for our communities throughout this crisis. You truly are local heroes and I’m hugely indebted to you. It’s a constant reminder that our responsibility as a Co-op, comes down to each and every one of us, including me.
That’s why we’ve donated £1.5m of food to the charity FareShare to help restock foodbanks and encouraged our members to donate too. Since Thursday, our campaign has already raised £100,000 for FareShare, which is truly remarkable.
And it’s why from today, I’m contributing 20% of my salary, over three months, to launch our new Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund. The Fund will make it easy for our 4.6 million members to donate some or all of their 5% member rewards, helping the most vulnerable in our society. We’ll channel that money into food banks, support for bereaved families who need extra help in affording a funeral, and other front-line community causes. Millions of people are suffering financially right now, and it felt right for me to personally kick-start the Fund and directly support causes which are close to my heart.
Last week we launched Co-operate, a digital way of connecting communities, putting people who need help together with those who are able to give it. We’ve seen 4,700 people offer their time and over 500 ask for help with simple things that they’re currently struggling with, like picking up shopping or prescriptions or just needing a friendly chat. Community spirit is alive and well across the UK and I’m proud that we’re able to help support that through Co-operate.
Co-operate shows that even those who can’t afford to give money are helping with their time. However big or small, we can all do something to make a difference. Leading this business is both a huge privilege and a huge responsibility. I don’t take that lightly. Everything we stand for as a Co-op shines from each and every one of our wonderful colleagues, and it should come from me too. Because for us, it’s not what we say, it’s what we do.
We have a long history of doing the right thing for our communities through tough times and now Co-op has a key role to play. When we’re through the other side of this crisis, we’ll have to ask ourselves ‘what did we do?’. The collective effort of our members can have a massive impact on thousands of lives in the weeks and months ahead. As a co-op, at the heart of local communities, we can combine all our strengths and, together, deliver not just words, but meaningful, sustainable action.
*our Easter campaign would have cost us £2.5m to run. Instead we’ve donated that airtime cost to running the Fareshare ad on tv, press and radio.