The Lichfield-based society, which has over 400 food stores and funeral homes across 16 counties, is teaming up with charity Groundwork to create a range of different spaces on land around its own retail stores and funeral homes.
The funding has come from Central England Co-op’s carrier bag levy fund and the society intends to work with the communities chosen on what sort of spaces they want to see created in their neighbourhoods.
These could range from orchards and allotments to play areas or educational spaces, or supporting sustainable transport or recycling facilities, with the emphasis on bringing benefits to local people’s health, wellbeing and the environment.
Hannah Gallimore, corporate responsibility manager at Central England Co-op, said: “We are really thrilled to be working with Groundwork on these exciting plans to provide truly transformative spaces for the benefit of the communities we serve.
“At Central England Co-op we are committed to working with our communities to create a sustainable Society for all and have been looking at ways in which we can utilise some of the space we already have around our food stores and funeral homes to bring extra benefits to those areas and the people who live and work there.
“We know from the work we have already done with Groundwork on smaller projects that they are the perfect partner for this ambitious scheme and share a lot of our beliefs and principles around co-operation, education and community.
“Now we have this agreement in place we can begin to identify potential sites across our trading area and talk to those communities about what they would like to see in those areas and what will provide the most benefits to them.”
Groundwork’s UK chief executive, Graham Duxbury, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Central England Co-op on this exciting partnership.
“In our experience, good quality green spaces are critical to how our neighbourhoods’ function and can act as inspirational places for learning, playing, meeting friends or exercising. We look forward to working with Central England Co-op and local community groups to create sustainable spaces that everyone can enjoy.”
The locations chosen for the investment will be revealed later this summer as well as the details of how people can get involved.