Harrogate charities boosted by Co-op's cash grants

The Co-op has given local causes in Harrogate a funding boost through its Local Community Fund, money which has been raised by Co-op Members and through the sale of carrier bags.

By Graham Chalmers
Monday, 18th May 2020, 5:54 pm
Updated Monday, 18th May 2020, 6:04 pm
Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op.

In total £61,000 has been shared by 54 local causes. Co-op is a long-term supporter of these causes who already do amazing things in the community, many of which are adapting their work to help others during the Coronavirus outbreak.

These include Harrogate And Knaresborough Toy Library, St. John Ambulance - Harrogate Unit and Dancing for Wellbeing.

Co-op members receive a five per cent reward every time they purchase own brand goods and services with a further one per cent going to local causes. Since the scheme began in 2016 more than 21,000 local causes across the UK have received over £60m.

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The Co-op will continue to support these causes, with another six months of funding through the Local Community Fund. Co-op members can choose to support a particular cause by logging in at www.coop.co.uk/local-causes.

Rebecca Birkbeck, director of community and shared value at the Co-op, said: “The local community fund is now a well-established way of supporting local causes who help to make communities safer, happier, and healthier places to live.

“All the local community causes we’re connected to are at the centre of helping their communities. We’ve increased the payout to give the causes a vital cash injection to help them continue the essential work they do in the community at this time of crisis and difficulty for so many people.”

The Co-op is also urging its members to help alleviate the impact of the present lock down by donating their personal unspent existing five percent reward to a new Co-op Members Fund set up to support foodbanks, funeral hardship and local community causes.

The Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund has been established so that the Co-op’s 4.6 million members across the UK can donate their unspent rewards, that total over £30m, into these vital areas. The Co-op’s CEO Steve Murrells has kicked started the fund by donating 20 per cent of his salary over a 3 month period.

The five percent reward members receive is held in an online wallet which can be redeemed on future purchases. By visiting the Co-op’s website members will be able to donate the existing money in their wallet to the fund.

Steve Murrells the Co-op’s chief executive, said: “One per cent of what our members spend already goes to local causes and now if they wish they can donate their five per cent personal rewards to help lessen the impact the emergency is having on millions of our communities.

“I know that many of our members want to support others at this very difficult time and our new fund makes it as simple as possible for them to contribute in their own way. The collective effort of our members could have a massive impact for thousands of lives in the weeks and months ahead.

“The Co-op has been supporting the communities in which it operates for 175 years and we will be still be here when this crisis is over.”

The Co-op has also announced the national launch of Co-operate - an online community centre, available on https://co-operate.coop.co.uk/support. It connects vulnerable people to local and national support initiatives, but also to volunteers who are willing to run virtual events such as exercise classes, music groups, or arts & crafts classes for others, across the country.

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