Approx 640 words. 3 mins to read.
Co-op Members have raised a staggering £502,003.39 by donating the 5% reward they receive when they buy selected Co-op products and services to a Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund.
We know our members are keen to do their bit and make a difference in their communities, which is why in April we launched a crisis fund where members could help those most in need simply by donating their unspent shopping reward via their online membership account.
How it will help
Over the past five months, more than 70,000 members have generously contributed some – or all – of their reward balance to help feed those going hungry across the UK through Fareshare, support families who are struggling to pay for a funeral for a loved one sadly lost due to Coronavirus and aid community causes affected by the outbreak.
Thanks to our members, the money raised is already making a huge difference in communities across the UK by helping organisations support people through the pandemic.
Donations are helping projects like Tiger Community Enterprise to produce face masks for key workers in the East Midlands and support food share charities like Connect Aid to deliver food to vulnerable people in Shropshire.
Health support groups – such as Changing Minds Kent – are also benefiting from the fund. It’s also helping Kids Together Belfast support young people with disabilities and enabling Counsellors Southwest CIC to provide assistance to vulnerable patients in Devon too.
Members share their thoughts
We caught up with Co-op Members to ask what they thought of the fund, why they decided to contribute to it and how they found the process.
Impressed with how Co-op has ‘led the field’ in its response to the Coronavirus outbreak, Morecambe Bay Food bank employee, Briony Scott, said: “It was so simple and easy to donate to the fund. A couple of clicks and it was done.”
By setting up the fund, Co-op is proving that it is more than “a series of shops but is also making a positive contribution to local communities,” said David Lawson.
“A lot of people are clearly experiencing worse difficulties than me as a result of the virus and this seemed like a very good way of making a small contribution towards trying to help,” he said.
Sarah Willcox saw details of the initiative on social media and was pleased when she received an email explaining how she could get involved.
“Most of my reward was built up because we paid for my mother’s funeral with Co-op and she would have wanted the money to go to such a good cause,” she said.
Having used Co-op’s Will services, Rosemary Read had been left wondering what do with her reward balance.
“I don’t have a local food store, so when I received an email about the Coronavirus fund which clearly set out what the money would be used for, it seemed the ideal opportunity to put my balance to the best possible use,’ she said.
“I was delighted to be able to make a contribution to a cause which offered very positive help to people severely affected by the pandemic.
“It is also quite unusual to be able to use rewards gained from spending money for the benefit of others.”
With a reasonable sum of membership rewards built up, Tony Judd said donating to the fund was ‘an easy way of helping others’.
“I’m aware that many have struggled (and still are) during the pandemic. It was effectively free money to me and seemed an entirely appropriate cause,” he said.
Members said they would welcome similar opportunities to donate in the future.
“It was a great idea to set up the fund. I often mean to donate to charities and food banks. This option made it very easy to do,” said Nick Robinson.
There are many ways you can get involved with your Co-op. Head to your member account to see what opportunities are currently available.
Director of Membership & Personalisation