Co‑operatives that operate for the benefit of local communities can now apply for funding from The Co‑op Local Community Fund.
The group’s annual funding round has been extended to not-for-profit community benefit organisations – and the application window is now open until 7 April 2018.
The Co‑op donates 1% of members’ spending on own brand products and services to the fund, which supports local projects. And members can nominate a local cause to receive their 1%. Any funds raised by members who don’t select a specific cause are shared equally between other causes in their local area – and new causes are chosen every 12 months.
So if your co‑op exists for the benefit of the community, brings people together and supports local co-operation – you can now apply to be one of these causes. If successful, you’ll be paid a share of the funding every six months, with the first payment at the end of May 2019.
Since September 2016, The Co‑op has raised a total of more than £20 million for local causes. As well as charities, it is keen to support small, locally focused not-for-profit organisations, co-ops, community interest companies, community benefit societies, and projects such as:
- Community centres offering learning opportunities for young children and their parents
- Local soup kitchens for the homeless
- Community gardens
- Performing arts causes that help tackle loneliness and isolation
- Renovation of community venues for different clubs used by the whole community
The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre in Manchester recently received £4,534 from the fund to support their ‘My Edge’ programme, bringing the arts to vulnerable people in the community.
“We would advise other local community causes to apply for the Local Community Fund. Knowing that the £4,534 we received will help widen participation to our neighbouring estates, which are among the 10% most deprived communities in the country, makes us excited about the difference we can make.” Hannah McAdam, Business Development Manager, The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre
Successful applicants to The Co‑op Local Community Fund will be informed in October 2018 and can begin promoting their cause to The Co-op’s members from November. Applications can be made via The Co‑op’s website.