£9m boost for local charities from Co-op Group membership scheme

Co-op Group members have raised over £9m, which is being shared between 4,000 local causes

Members of the Co-op Group have raised over £9m, which is now being shared by 4,000 good causes, from its new membership scheme.

In September, the Co-op Group launched the “5 and 1” scheme, which gave members 5% back on own-brand purchases and an additional 1% to local charities.

All the 1% rewards, plus the proceeds from the carrier bag charge in England, mean the share out totals £9,196,992.62, with the average amount being £2,284.

According to the Group, a basket of everyday products alone has helped raise more than £1m, with £410,000 coming from the sale of milk and £56,000 from bread. Other popular own-brand items have been chicken (raising £165,000 through the 1% reward), sandwiches (£120,000), soft fruit (£112,000) and potatoes (£111,000).

“These Co-op products represent the most valuable shopping basket in the UK,” said Rufus Olins, chief membership officer. “By just buying everyday items our members not only enjoy a 5% reward for themselves, but they can make a real difference in their community.”

From November, applicants were invited to apply for the Co-op Group community fund, with preference given to organisations with an income of less than £1m a year. From these, 4,000 groups were chosen to benefit from the first round of support, between September 2016 and March 2017. Members could then choose the local cause they wanted their own 1% to go to. If they didn’t, it’s shared out between the causes of your nearest Co‑op.

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The successful groups included 886 charities working with young people, 688 working towards social inclusion and 593 on community development. The groups range from projects set up to support people with specific illnesses and conditions to self-help groups like luncheon clubs; Scout groups; walking clubs; brass bands and environmental groups. New causes are chosen every six months.

“Many of the 4,000 good causes we are supporting operate on a shoestring so the money they will receive from the Co-op in the next few days will be vital,” added Mr Olins.

“The Co-op has always been community focussed. By listening to our members we are able to identify what communities care most about and then offer support that really makes a difference and by working with and supporting local good causes great things are happening.”

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