Support for communities at its highest, says Co-op
Recent insight from the grass roots charities supported by the Co-op shows more is needed to help communities get back on their feet.
As the Co-op celebrates raising £100 million for local communities, causes and charity partners over the last five years – data from the latest funding round shows that community support is needed more than ever, with more than million Co-op members selecting a cause in a single round of its Local Community Fund – the highest numbers since its launch in 2016.
Earlier this year, over 3,000 local causes from across the UK took part in a Co-op survey, sharing how the pandemic has affected their groups and communities, making it one of the largest of its kind. Causes identified mental wellbeing (89% of causes), the impact of lockdown on young people’s education (66% of causes) and rising food insecurity (46% of causes) as some of the biggest challenges facing their communities.
This insight, along with data from Co-op’s Community Wellbeing Index, and network of Member Pioneers has helped to inform the Co-op’s vision of co-operating for a fairer world, which focuses on these areas that matter: Access to Food, Mental Wellbeing Support and Education and Employment for young people.
Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op, said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen more Co-op members than ever play an active role in supporting their community by selecting a cause. Our insight has told us that support for mental wellbeing, access to food and education and employment for young people, are key for helping communities as they get back on their feet.”
“We’re delighted to see the incredible amount Co-op members have raised over the past five years, by listening closely to our local communities and providing the long-term investment and support they need, our members and customers have all helped make their communities places where we can all be proud to live and work.”
Since 2016, the Local Community Fund has supported over 25,000 causes across the UK, and members are encouraged to pick a local cause from a selection will make real difference in their local area.
The group’s membership programme sees 2p in every pound spent on Co-op branded products and services shared equally between two funds – the Local Community Fund and the Community Partnerships Fund.
The money raised has also supported national organisations and charities across the country, including Co-op’s partnership with Hubbub which has funded 100 new community fridges in local communities across the UK, providing 6.8 million meals a year. As well as signposting 500,000 people to activity information or services that support their mental wellbeing with Mind, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and Inspire. It’s also created over 6,000 opportunities for young people to make their communities safer places to live and enabled 7,000 Co-op Academy students to receive free Co-op food vouchers, the equivalent of 1.2 million meals.