By Liz Greenwood, Community Partnerships Fund Adviser

I’m overwhelmed to share that after only five months since I announced Co-op colleagues had raised £6million for our national charity partners, Mind, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Wellbeing) and Inspire, your amazing fundraising efforts mean we’ve reached an incredible new mark of £7million! 

The amounts raised so far are making a real difference enabling the charities to deliver innovative new services in communities across the UK to ensure people receive the support they need – with over 50 services are already up and running, supporting over 4,000 people so far. 

One of those services is, Growing Chrysalis in Dundee who are supporting their community’s mental wellbeing through a variety of activities and events focusing on gardening and growing, including physical activity, relaxation techniques and environmental art. 

In December, Carolyn Johnston, Funeralcare Services Manager, Food colleagues, Emma Duncan and Michael Tomson, and Member Pioneers, Cindy Morris and Sylvia Dobbie visited the group to see the impact the service is having on the local community.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. Whether it’s dressing up, doing a sponsored walk or run, hosting a charity event or even donating to help us raise these funds – we simply couldn’t have done it without you. But, with our £8million target in clear sight – let’s keep the momentum going! 

However you do it, fundraise for mental wellbeing

Today is the start of our next big fundraising week. And, with ‘Time to Talk Day’ on Thursday 3 February, we’re asking you to fundraise around the theme of talking about mental wellbeing. 

Talking about mental health breaks down harmful stereotypes and barriers which then help create supportive communities. That’s why, opening up the conversation about mental wellbeing is so important. By talking about it we can support ourselves and others.

Supporting mental wellbeing is an integral part of our vision of Co-operating for a Fairer World and we’re aiming to raise £8m for our charity partners by June 2022 to bring communities together to improve mental wellbeing.

Here are some great examples of how colleagues are planning to raise awareness of mental wellbeing this week:

  • Colleagues from across team north are planning a series of walk and talk charity events
  • Hannah Tuck, Engagement Co-ordinator at Cardinal Depot and a Co-op Member Pioneer has organised free hot drinks and biscuits for 24 hours on ‘Time To Talk Day’. Hannah say’s “Our rest room will be a space where colleagues can take the time to talk in a calm, warm and engaging space; with giant adult colouring posters, supportive information, and conversation starters provided by Mind. Colleagues will be invited to enter a competition to name our teddy bear as well as donate money to charity instead of putting into the vending machine”
  • Samantha Queen, Member Pioneer for Ruislip, Ickenham and Harefield runs a group of ladies called ‘All stitched up’ who knit and crochet to help spread cheer around the community. Samantha says’s “I’ve organised an event on ‘Time to Talk Day’ which is not just about fundraising but more about raising awareness, building a community oriented group and supporting mental health”

If you haven’t already done so, have a look at our fundraising pack for plenty of ideas to get you talking and fundraising. 

Whether you organise a sponsored walk-and-talk, knit and natter or start your own charity book club, there are loads of ways to get involved. So, get ready to join the conversation and, however you do it, fundraise for mental wellbeing this February.

Your own mental health is so important 

There is lots of support available for colleagues; from counselling with our provider Lifeworks available 24/7. From GP services via our partner Smart Health for you and your family, to Gympass our physical health and wellbeing platform. To find out more about the resources available to you, click here.

Even a small improvement to your wellbeing can help you better manage your mental health. Download our ‘Be kind to your mind’ guide for ways to support your own and others mental wellbeing at coop.co.uk/charitypartnership.

Our recent research, Together Through Tough Times, has shown that helping and supporting others can have a positive impact on your own wellbeing. You can also find things to do and groups in your area to support your wellbeing at coop.co.uk/co-operate.