Co-op becomes first retailer to launch a £1m ‘warm spaces’ funding boost
The Co-op has become the first retailer to launch a £1 million ‘Warm Spaces’ funding boost, to provide urgent support to local community organisations across the UK, as they help communities navigate rising energy costs during the cold winter months.
This funding comes as a welcome boost, with insight from more than 1,600 local community causes across the UK showing that nearly two-thirds (59%) of projects have experienced a shortfall in funding over the past 12 months. Over three- quarters (84%) of local causes have seen an increase in demand, particularly those providing support for people through the cost-of-living crisis.
Over a quarter (26%) of community projects said they were considering having to reduce services as a result of shortfalls in funding, whilst a tenth (10%) of local projects have already closed or reduced services.
In support, funds raised by Co-op members are helping local groups provide warm spaces for people to use over the coldest months, through its newly established partnership with Crowdfunder. Eligible groups who are already offering a warm space, wanting to increase opening times or extend existing services or activities this winter can apply for the £1m match funding – up to £3,000 per group is available by applying at coop.uk/warmspaces by 28th February 2023 (fundraising to be completed by 31st March 2023).
Projects that can apply might include, a community cafe that needs funding to continue offering their building as a warm space; a local village support group wanting to extend existing activities to support more people in their community; a community fridge, wanting to promote their services more widely to meet increasing need or a youth group whose energy costs have increased.
Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Member Participation at Co-op commented: “As our Co-op research shows, we have a huge role to play in supporting community groups and the people that they help during the cost-of-living crisis.
“Funding for warm spaces form part of our response to our community missions of access to food, mental wellbeing support and opportunities for young people. Launching this funding boots will help groups keep their lights and heating on as they bring communities together to keep warm in the coldest months of the year– increasing overall wellbeing. It may also mean people don’t have to choose between accessing food or heating this winter. Plus, having a warm space allows the community to take a break from their everyday worries, improving their mental wellbeing.
“The £1m funding boost wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for our members choosing Co-op and raising funds to support communities every time they shop with us. Our customers and members can help even more by donating through Crowdfunder or take part by using the services that are being funded.”
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