Co-op community fund awards £6,000 cash boost to four groups in the West Midlands to ensure vital work continues to help those in need

Central England Co-op has shared out £6,000 between four good causes in the West Midlands to ensure they can continue their vital community work during the Coronavirus outbreak.

A wide range of charities and community organisations in Lichfield, Burton and Rugeley were delighted to receive the funding boost during these uncertain times, with a total of £31,000 handed out to 22 groups across 16 counties from the retailer’s Community Dividend Fund.

The money will now be spent by charities and organisations to ensure that events, activities and support that otherwise might have been postponed or cancelled can still go ahead and provide a vital boost to the local community.

Lichfield-based Foresters Scout Group has been handed £2,500 to buy tents for youngsters to use when they are allowed to meet up together again.

Angela Burns, from the group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded a grant from Central England Co-op. We applied for extra tents as we had a flood in February and lost some of our existing stock, but we are also fortunate in that the numbers are increasing in our Scout Group and so we need extra tents to take everyone away. 

“Scouting has been halted while we all tackle the Coronavirus but we are using the time to plan a camp for the whole Group when we are able to meet face to face again. 

“We see it as a celebration for us all to get together in the great outdoors and a springboard to resume our normal Scouting activities. 

“The tents will enable us all to be away together and will make a huge difference to our Group in years to come.”

Member-led Friends 2 Friends, in Lichfield, will use £1,000 to buy laptops and computers to help people in the area increase communication and social skills.

Belvedere Park Junior Football Club has been handed £2,000 to help pay for fencing around its facilities in an effort to deter ongoing vandalism.

Kev Wilcox, from the club, said: “The funds are crucial to aid our club and having just completed 25 years we look forward to another 25+ years supporting local children having been successful in seeing some of the children go on to careers in football. Here’s to many more doing the same aided by the support of the likes of Central England Co-op.”

Rugeley Community Church will be able to support its fit and fed family project to help youngsters impacted by holiday hunger with a £500 donation.

Wendy Barnsley, from the church, said: “We are excited by the new and creative ways we will be feeding the families in Rugeley and surrounding villages this summer. 

“Using the Community Dividend Fund grant we will be taking pre-prepared hot meals out to the families twice a week. To keep the children active and engaged we are preparing craft packs for each family to enjoy at the beginning of each week. This will include craft kits and ideas, links to sport, dance and exercise sessions.”

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “Now more than ever being a co-operative business that sits at the heart of our communities is so important.

“We are delighted that these great projects and good causes have been handed a grant that will allow them to continue their fantastic work in the community at this uncertain time.

“Community Dividend Fund grants like this showcase how by being a member and shopping at your local Central England Co-op store allows us as a Society to continue to invest and fund vital projects in the area.”


Notes to editors

Picture caption: Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund has shared out £31,000 to good causes to help ease the impact of the Coronavirus.

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

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