More than 3,500 people who have been affected by the pandemic have been supported so far thanks to a local donation from an independent co-operative.
Southern Co-op’s donation of £40,000 to the Neighbourly Community Fund is providing micro-grants to good causes that are helping communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The co-operative, which has retail and funeralcare branches across the south of England, is sharing the good news ahead of Co-op Fortnight (22 June to 5 July) which will celebrate some of the ways co-operatives have supported their communities during the pandemic.
During the fortnight, member-owned organisations across the UK will also be urging people to keep up this new found wave of co-operation.
Stripey Stork, a Surrey-based charity which received a grant through the Neighbourly fund, said: “The funding has enabled Stripey Stork to support families in need during this difficult time, through providing essential items needed to keep children clothed, clean and safe.”
So far, the Neighbourly Community Fund has paid 14 micro-grants from Southern Co-op’s donation.
Other organisations to benefit directly from Southern Co-op’s donation include Portsmouth-based Boogie Mites which has used the donation to continue its support to families and carers online; Dementia UK providing specialist dementia support for families through their admiral nurse service; the Royal Voluntary Service helping people at home and to support the NHS through volunteering; and Portsmouth’s Express FM community radio which has been regularly updating listeners with essential information.
Organisations based near Southern Co-op’s stores or funeral homes can apply for the grants through their new or existing Neighbourly profiles via www.neighbourly.com/goodcause/ and using the referral code SouthernCoopPartner.
Boogie Mites, which supports around 300 people per week through educational, community and intergenerational music across the city of Portsmouth, said: “Thank you to Southern Co-op. Your generous donation has enabled us to continue to provide free virtual online music groups and educational support for families and carers who enjoy Boogie Mites music. The money enabled us to pay our teacher, cover running costs and pay for additional equipment.”
The theme for this year’s Co-op Fortnight is #KeepCooperating and it is highlighting how co-operatives across the UK are supporting their communities.
In a YouGov poll conducted by trade body Co-operatives UK, 31 per cent of people surveyed from the south of England have shopped more at independent/locally run stores during lockdown and 27% will continue to do so after lockdown has ended.
The poll also showed that 24% of people in the south of England said they have checked the wellbeing of vulnerable people in their community.
Co-operatives UK Chair Nick Matthews said: “It’s heartening to see that the public has seen the benefit of shopping locally, reducing food waste, increased recycling and exploring their local area. The fact many people are planning to continue their new behaviour shows they can see the positive impact. Our Co-op Fortnight campaign is all about encouraging and supporting people to keep co-operating.
“Buying from independent businesses such as co-ops means creating local jobs and supporting organisations who put strong values at the heart of all that they do.”
Co-operatives are businesses that are owned and controlled by their members, together contributing £38bn to the UK economy and spanning all sectors from high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses.
International Day of Co-operatives takes place during the fortnight on Saturday 4 July.