By Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value

More than 150 local causes are sharing a financial boost worth almost £100,000 thanks to Co-op Members donating part, or all, of their unspent personal reward through our Members’ Coronavirus Fund.

Thanks to our unique Community Wellbeing Index – which analyses data from 28,000 communities across the UK – we invited causes in places particularly vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic to apply for the fund, so our members’ money was spent where it was needed most.

Kickstarted when CEO Steve Murrells committed to a 20 percent pay cut over a three-month period, our members have donated over £410,000 to our Members’ Coronavirus Fund, which is also helping feed those going hungry through FareShare and cover the cost of a funeral for those experiencing financial hardship.

By working with FareShare, we’ve supported organisations across the UK like Croydon’s Asian Resource Centre. Providing a lifeline for older people from the South Asian communities at risk of loneliness, the centre uses FareShare to create meals for luncheon clubs and, for a small donation, its members can pick up a bag of fresh, healthy food for the week.

Here are just three local causes who’ve also benefitted from the fund:

Harmony Youth Project

Steve Murrells paid a visit to the North West’s Harmony Youth Project last week, which is using the extra financial boost to tackle social isolation and the feeling of loneliness amongst vulnerable young people, which has been exaggerated during lockdown.

Youth Harmony will create a dedicated online support and advice service where local young people can feel safe, stay connected and achieve their potential in 1-2-1 or group sessions.

Breast Mates

A group providing support for ladies suffering breast cancer, Breast Mates has been holding meetings via Zoom with activities like meditation, chair yoga and dance for its members.

With most of its members being vulnerable to coronavirus, it’s unlikely the group will be able to host in-person meet-ups soon, so the donation from Co-op will help provide tablets and internet access to those who can’t currently access online support.

They’re also planning to send some surprise care parcels to members who’ve been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as those currently in treatment or terminally ill.

Victim Support Isle of Man

Providing free confidential help to victims and witnesses of crime – as well as their family and friends – Victim Support can only offer telephone contact at the moment, due to social distancing and a lack of space.

The money from Co-op Members will help transform its outdoor courtyard with furniture, so the group can hold socially distanced meetings with vulnerable clients who need face-to-face contact to aid their recovery.

Donate to the Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund by Monday 31 August

One percent of what our members spend already goes to local causes through our Local Community Fund and now, because of their generosity, we’re able to provide additional support to local communities to help lessen the impact of the pandemic.

If you have unspent personal rewards in your membership wallet, you can donate some of it to our Members’ Coronavirus Fund to help the most vulnerable by logging into your account by Monday 31 August.

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