Skip to main content

Co-op Foundation awards £1.4m to develop diverse leaders of the future

News item

26th June 2023
Last updated
29th June 2023
Co-op Foundation

The Co-op's charity, Co-op Foundation, has announced its first ever 'fully unrestricted' grants in a programme designed for small organisations.

The Co-op's charity, the Co-op Foundation, has awarded £1.4m from its first ever fully unrestricted grant-giving programme specifically for small organisations.  

The grants have been awarded to 13 groups across the UK with turnovers of less than £250k. The  supported groups help young people who face different structural barriers into leadership positions.

Funding is allocated by Co-op Foundation's Future Communities Collective (FCC) - a group of seven young people from diverse backgrounds - alongside two of its own young trustees. This group is leading the way on the Foundation’s vision for youth leadership through participatory grant-making, an essential aspect of the charity’s new strategy, Building communities of the future together.  

Does your co-op make a difference to people, communities and the wider economy?

The up-to-five-year grants also follow the Foundation’s seven funding principles for co-operative funding. Funding is fully unrestricted, meaning any organisation delivering diverse youth leadership could apply. Successful applicants include: 

  • Friends of Romano Lav: A five-year grant of £97,500 will help this Roma youth-led organisation, challenging discrimination and promoting equality. 
  • 21 Together: A five-year grant of £150,000 will help the team provide training, therapy, resources, interventions, peer support and expert guidance for children and young people with Down's syndrome, their families and the professionals that support them. 
  • Girls into Coding: A five-year grant of £75,000 will help the team break down barriers and stereotypes that discourage girls from pursuing careers in technology and helps bridge the gender gap in STEM. 

Diverse youth leadership is part of the Co-op Foundation’s Future Communities Vision, created by 100 young people. 

Quote mark
The Future Communities Fund is our first co-operative grant-giving programme from our new strategy and just one example of how we’re working to build communities of the future together with young people.  
– Nick Crofts, CEO of Co-op Foundation

Nick Crofts, CEO of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Supporting young people into leadership positions - through youth leadership at the Co-op Foundation and co-operation with our new partners – is helping us to lay the foundations for a fairer society. The 13 organisations we’re supporting are doing amazing work with and for young people. Our unrestricted and long-term funding will add greater stability and security to their work and help develop the diverse leaders of tomorrow.” 

Are you a young person or organisation working with young people?
Book your FREE ticket to the National Youth Summit where you can take part in interactive workshops exploring co-operative solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges.

Halima Mohamud is one of the young people from the Foundation’s Future Communities Collective. She said: “Being part of the Future Communities Collective has meant we’ve been able support some ground-breaking small organisations through long-term funding. 

“The organisations we are supporting have all demonstrated that they are working with their young people to build communities of the future together. Having different understanding and different lived experiences in the room when funding decisions happen has and will have a great impact through the Future Communities Fund.” 

The Co-op Foundation is Co-op's charity and it’s co-operating for a fairer world. 

The Foundation released is ‘Building communities of the future together’ strategy in 2022. Its funding and campaigns are now all focused on creating fair communities in 10 years’ time, built on co-operative values. Funding today builds on previous Foundation grants that have prioritised youth activism and tackled inequality, including support from its £5m #iwill Fund. 

The second round of the Future Communities Fund is currently being developed. Sign up to the Co-op Foundation blog to hear first when new funding is announced. 

Related content