Co-op Foundation invests in communities

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Over 1,000 Co-op Members joined in #TheCoopWay to tell the Co-op Foundation what matters to their communities. Now, we’re trialing a new way of investing in local groups with their own revenue-generating projects, to help them grow their long-term income.

Exploring what matters to Co-op Members’ communities

We set out to explore how investment from the Co-op Foundation could strengthen community causes that support what matters most to Co-op Members. We focused on four areas:

Drawing on members’ contributions, and consulting with causes in these communities, we have made four initial investments addressing these themes.

Supporting community causes with Co-op Foundation investment

Each of these initial investments includes a grant for charitable activities that are directly meeting the needs of disadvantaged communities. They also include a loan, to kick-start or grow revenue-generating activities for long-term financial sustainability. The community causes we’re supporting are:

  1. Heeley Development Trust – This group manages Heeley People’s Park in Sheffield. Our funding will help to develop their project which repairs and sells used bikes, generating profits that are used to maintain the park.
  2. Hulme Community Garden Centre – This Garden Centre sells organic plants and delivers gardening sessions for the local community. We’re helping them refurbish and expand their growing and retail spaces, allowing them to trade on a larger scale, and use the money raised to offer wellbeing gardening sessions for more vulnerable groups.
  3. Friends of Stretford Public Hall – The hall hosts regular events and activities that are affordable to local people. With our funding, they will be able to host more community activities and larger-scale events. They will also develop their volunteering offer to get more people involved in the centre and develop their skills.
  4. Rural Urban Synthesis Society – RUSS plans to build much-needed new homes in Lewisham, that are environmentally sustainable and genuinely affordable for the local community. RUSS has been entirely led by volunteers but will put our funding towards a dedicated member of staff as they begin work on this development.

We’re drawing on everything we’ve learned from Co-op Members and our investments so far, to develop an offer we can open up to more community causes with their own revenue-generating projects, across the UK. We’ll be announcing more details soon.
In the meantime, take a look at the Join In opportunities members can help shape right now.

Jim Cooke
Head of Foundation

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. […] We’re trialing a new way of investing in local groups […]

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  2. […] You can read more about this process, and the investments we made during our pilot phase, here on the Co-op’s blog. […]

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  3. […] Supporting community causes with Co-op Foundation investment […]

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