£30,000 Co-op funding boost for community groups

Charities and community groups in the West Midlands are among 33 good causes to receive vital support thanks to a £30,000 funding boost from Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund

The Lichfield-based retailer, which has 262 stores across 16 counties, has allocated the grants which aim to support access to food, health and wellbeing, inclusion and the environment

Groups can apply for between £100 to £5,000 every two months to support all manner of projects after, for the past 12 months, the fund was temporarily repurposed to support good causes impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. During that time, 116 good causes have shared more than £175,000.

Andy Seddon, the co-operative society secretary, said: “Community dividend fund grants showcase how by being a member and shopping at your local Central England Co-op store allows us as a society to continue to invest and fund vital projects in the area – especially during uncertain times like these.

“Our relaunched fund aligns with our new society purpose to create a sustainable society for all and we are delighted to share these funds with these amazing groups and cannot wait to see how they use it to benefit their local community.”

Cerebral Palsy Mid Staffordshire has received £1,000 to cover the cost of its coffee mornings for the year

Jane Till from the Stafford-based charity said: “We plan to run a coffee morning over the coming year. We have previously done this thanks to some funding and found that our members and people from the community, who struggle with visible and invisible disabilities, have really loved coming along. We aim to make a difference in the lives of those who come along in many ways and it means a lot to us, as a charity of many years standing, to be able to do this, and to receive positive feedback that we are achieving those aims.

"The impact of the funding will be that it will aim to address feelings of loneliness and isolation that can be felt by those who have a physical or mental disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, those living alone, and the elderly, which has been and still is being exacerbated by Covid-19.”

Whittington Community Computer Group, in Whittington, near Lichfield, also got £1,000 to help provide basic computer skills for people in the area

Evelyn Jefferies from the group said: “The award will make a big contribution to our efforts to expand the group and also replace old tablets which are now beginning to malfunction and do not have the latest operating systems. Up-to-date equipment will mean all members are able to work at the same pace and cause less interruption whilst problems are sorted out. Tablets are loaned to our members for the duration of their membership, as some cannot afford their own, and new members may not wish to buy until they are sure they can master the intricacies of the internet.

"Being able to communicate with far flung family members or shop safely online (a valuable aid to the less able bodied) are just two of the many benefits gained from being computer literate. As most of our members are of a mature age, the group also offers valuable social contact at the weekly meetings and the loan of equipment means they can participate fully.”

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