Approx. 500 words

I’m delighted that the Co-op, led by our charity the Co-op Foundation, is the first retailer to mobilise its members, customers, community groups and charity partners to help Afghan refugees.

The Co-op Foundation is leading from the front on the issue, awarding a £250,000 grant to Refugee Action, a national charity that helps refugees rebuild their lives.

But today’s grant is just the start. As an organisation that has close affinity with 1,500 communities across the UK, we will aim to act as a catalyst for those wanting to respond to the crisis following the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

That’s why Co-op members, local causes, Co-op Academies and Member Pioneers are already doing their bit in support.

Immediate support

The Co-op Foundation’s grant will help Refugee Action to respond in the short and long-term to the Afghan refugee crisis by:

  • Providing direct support and advice to people who’ve fled to the UK from Afghanistan and other countries through its own front-line services and in collaboration with a nationwide network of community organisations.
  • Building public support to help campaign for a more sustainable, compassionate and welcoming refugee protection system.
  • Empowering refugees and people in the asylum system to influence the issues that matter to them.

Thanks must go out to our charity for responding in partnership with Refugee Action as part of our vision of Co-operating for a Fairer World.

Please follow the Co-op Foundation and Nick Crofts on Twitter to find out more about why they want to start a national collaborative effort with other funders, businesses and organisations to help reform the refugee protection system.

Co-op united

It’s been heartening to see communities across the UK come together over the past few weeks to support and welcome Afghan refugees. Many are leaving behind their country and, in some cases, their families, to begin what will probably be a long journey to start a new life in a foreign country.

As part of our vision, we’re continuing to support thousands of grassroots communities through our Local Community Fund. Members have raised over £200,000 for local groups working with refugees in recent years and we expect this support to continue when the new round of local causes is announced in October

The Co-op Academies Trust already offers places to recent migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum and the Trust has written to all Directors of Education where Co-op Academy schools are located to indicate its willingness to take additional children from the newly arrived Afghan community.

And many of the 1,000 Co-op Member Pioneers across the UK are connected to groups working with refugees.

I believe we are at our strongest when we all co-operate. I hope you will join me in thanking all our colleagues, Members, community groups and partners for everything they’re doing today and into the future.

Steve Murrells
Co-op CEO

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