The Co-op Group has opened applications for a new round of the Local Community Fund. The money distributed by the fund comes from the 1% that members receive back when they buy Co-op Group products or services. Members then choose the local cause they want to support from a list of three in nearly 1,500 communities across the UK.
Applications to the current round of funding is open to co-ops and social enterprises until 16 June 2019.
The Fund, which was established in 2016, has already helped over 16,000 local causes around the UK. For this round, the Group is looking to work with projects in three priority areas – those that support community spaces, work towards mental and physical wellbeing, or improve people’s skills – all of which will help to make communities safer and stronger places to live and work.
These three priorities are the result of the Group’s work on the Community Wellbeing Index, which gives an insight into what is important to people in a local community, from the quality of education, housing affordability, and public transport, to the amount of green space and the number of community centres.
“Community isn’t just about giving back money, it’s about understanding what our communities need and helping our members get actively involved to make them stronger,” said Rebecca Birkbeck, the Group’s director of community engagement.
Produced in partnership with the Young Foundation and Geolytix, the Index is the first measure of community wellbeing at a neighbourhood level across the UK.
It “is based on conversations with people across the UK about what makes their communities tick and gives us real insight into what contributes to community wellbeing at a genuinely local level,” says the CWI report. “It gets to the heart of what’s important in a local community – from strong relationships and active participation – to good, local schools, affordable housing and public transport links.”