Twelve good causes share £16,000 funding boost to tackle COVID-19 related problems thanks to Co-op community fund

Posted by rob smyth | Published: 26/11/2020

  • Twelve charities and community groups share out £16,000 in funding from Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund
  • The retailer, which has 262 stores across 16 counties, has allocated the grants to provide short-term bursts to projects and organisations impacted by COVID-19
  • Groups in the following areas have been supported: Northampton, Huddersfield, Market Harborough, Nottingham, Long Eaton, Cambridgeshire, Birmingham and Norfolk

Central England Co-op has handed out £16,000 to 12 charities and good causes as part of its revamped Community Dividend Fund aimed at providing quick funding boosts to help those impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.

A wide range of charities and community organisations were delighted to receive the funding boost during these uncertain times.

Normally, grants from the fund are handed out four times a year to a wide range of organisations but, during the coming months, it has been decided to hand grants out on a monthly basis to support those suffering financial hardship due to the pandemic and others looking to step in to help those affected.

Organisations in the following areas have benefitted from a grant: Northampton, Huddersfield, Market Harborough, Nottingham, Long Eaton, Cambridgeshire, Birmingham and Norfolk.

Jim Watts, Society Secretary, said: “In response to the current crisis, we made some changes to our Community Dividend Fund scheme to provide immediate financial support for local good causes, community groups and charities who are responding to some of the most worrying impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Community Dividend Fund grants 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 – especially during uncertain times like these.

“We are delighted to have been able to support these amazing causes and help them make a difference in our communities.”
To apply, members will need: name, address, membership number, organisation type, organisation bank account or constitution and to explain what the group does, how the grant will be spent and the specific impact it will have related to COVID-19.

People can find out the full criteria and how to apply for funding by visiting


Notes to editors


Below is a full breakdown of good causes handed funding listed via county:



  • The Emmanuel Group of Churches - £500 – to help people struggling to feed their families access food via its Weston Favell Centre Food Bank
    • Julie Parsons, from Weston Favell Centre Food Bank, said: “This has been an extraordinary year for us. The pandemic led to us dealing with a huge rise in need, from about 500 food parcels distributed per month, rising to about 1,400 in May, and has now settled at about 1,000 parcels a month - obviously still double the 'normal' demand. We know that it has been a very challenging time for many disadvantaged people, and we are especially mindful of those who are vulnerable, and those who have felt more isolated and lonely than usual. We hope to bring some happiness to those people this Christmas by adding some Christmas food treats to their parcels, and this grant from the Community Dividend Fund will help us to do so.”



  • Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice - £2,000 – to help support its 24/7 family helpline
    • Gareth Pierce, Director of Income Generation at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, said: “Our babies, children and families continue to need our support throughout the current pandemic – in fact, they need our support more now than ever before as they feel isolated, alone and unable to access the support that we can give them anywhere else. We can only provide the support that they desperately need as a result of the generosity of supporters like Central England Co-op.”




  • Social Echo North - £5,000 – to pay for a new floor to expand its food storage facilities and support the creation of an employment hub
    • Sally Howell, from Social Echo, said: “Thanks to the generous support of the Central England Co-op, we are able to expand both our storage for emergency food supply and our space for our unemployment hub, both of these activities will help support people and families impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Our team would like to thank the Central England Co-op for their support.” 
  • Parents at Wheatfields School, St Ives - £100 – to help the group buy local supplies to boost its efforts in the community


Market Harborough

  • HFT – £1,690 – the national charity for adults with learning disabilities will use the funding to buy an outdoor gazebo so groups can meet in a socially-distanced manner
    • A spokesman from HFT said: “Over the past few months, the 35 people with learning disabilities who we support to live in their own homes in Leicestershire have been faced with huge changes to their daily routines and support networks. While we’ve been able to use technology to support people to stay in touch with their family and friends, they are understandably still missing regular facetoface communication with their loved ones. Thanks to Central England Co-operative’s Community Dividend Fund, we’ll now be able to purchase a wooden gazebo where people can enjoy spending quality time with their nearest and dearest in a safe and sheltered environment outside their homes, once current lockdown restrictions are lifted. As the pandemic continues and many continue to shield through the upcoming festive period, we’re looking forward to introducing this vital new space for people we support to meet with their family and friends. We’re so grateful for this wonderful donation, which will make a huge difference to people with learning disabilities and their families during these difficult times.”



  • Proactively Empowered Kids - £1,600 – to help youngsters and their families deal with mental health issues
    • Jackie Wilson and Claire Clements, from Positively Empowered Kids, said: “We are very grateful and excited to have received £1,600 from the Community Dividend Fund. This grant enables us to pilot and launch our first Positively Empowered Community Group in Gedling Borough, creating a safe space for parents/carers to feel supported and empowered whilst being provided with tips, tools and techniques to increase resilience and positive wellbeing through the emotional challenges they are experiencing due to the pandemic.”
  • Broxtowe Community Projects - £500 – to help pay for additional food to support local families



  • Quinton Youth for Christ - £200 – for equipment, games and other items to support its work
  • Oasis Community Hub - £2,000 – to help fund a pre-school provision to support local families in need of a little extra help
    • Andy Vail, from the hub, said: “Oasis Community Hub Foundry and Boulton are delighted to receive some of the Community Dividend Fund generously donated by local Central England  Co-op members. This will enable us to make a real difference to local families in the Winson Green and Handsworth communities.”
  • MHA Communities - £1,500 – to help create sensory bags for people living with dementia and loss of sight
    • Tanya Jones, MHA Communities Manager, said: “The project we intend to use the grant for is called “Sensory Activity Bags”. The bags will be posted to our members or delivered to our member’s homes by our volunteers in a safe way. Some of our members are blind and living with dementia so the funding will enable us to create personalised bags to help our members stay socially connected with others via the activities and the support of a volunteer through telephone or online contact. Funding received from the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund will enable our project to have a direct impact on the lives of our members living with dementia and their carers.”



  • Long Eaton 50+ - £1,500 – to help buy equipment such as tablets to help keep isolated members connected during the pandemic
    • Leela Damodaran, from Long Eaton 50+, said: “We are delighted that the Central England Co-op has awarded funds to our club. These will be used to ensure the continuity of our support and help for older people in using digital technologies through the challenges of the pandemic. The funding is warmly welcomed by volunteers and members alike: it means that the help and support, as well as the companionship, which has been provided to the community for over 12 years is not halted by COVID-19 and will offer some stability and reassurance at this turbulent time.”



  • St Peter’s Haveringland Church Council - £100 – to help the church buy local supplies to boost its efforts in the community



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 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.


Visit for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood



Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


Email -