East of England Co-op has awarded £89,789 to community action, food justice and mental health organisations across its region.
The 33 grants from the retailer’s Community Cares Fund, ranging from £725 and £5,000, are expected to help more than 23,000 people in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
Community Cares was established in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is supported in part by contributions from society members through their annual dividend.
Including the latest funding round, the co-op will have distributed over £490,000 to local causes, such as Lawford CofE Primary School in Essex, which received £1,500 to replace raised garden beds to teach children about plant growing.
Another beneficiary is youth charity Inclusion Ventures, which received £4,500 to develop a community garden in Essex, to promote healthy eating.
Project director Sarah Hannass said: “News of this funding was so welcome in January; what a great start to the year. It will enable us to bring some warmth and nourishment to a variety of activities for our children, families and seniors from our brand new community hub in Jaywick.”
Niall O’Keeffe, joint CEO of East of England Co-op, said: “Our Community Cares Fund is as important as ever to help support our communities through this challenging time. It was an incredibly difficult decision to choose the recipients as we once again had a large number of applications from lots of impactful and inspiring projects.
“We look forward to seeing all the work come to life and make a genuine difference at a critical time.”