The Co-op Group’s charity, the Co-op Foundation, has awarded £1.4m from its first ever fully unrestricted grant-giving programme specifically for small organisations.
Grants go to 13 groups across the UK with turnovers of less than £250,000. Partners supported are helping young people who face different structural barriers into leadership positions, says the Co-op Foundation, as “part of a completely new way of working” for the organisation.
Funding has been allocated by the charity’s Future Communities Collective (FCC) – a group of seven young people from diverse backgrounds – alongside two of its own young trustees. This group is leading the way on the Foundation’s vision for youth leadership through participatory grant-making, an essential aspect of the charity’s new strategy, Building communities of the future together.
The up-to-five-year grants also follow the Foundation’s seven funding principles for co-operative funding. Funding is fully unrestricted, meaning any organisation delivering diverse youth leadership could apply. Successful applicants include:
- Friends of Romano Lav: A five-year grant of £97,500 will help this Roma youth-led organisation, challenging discrimination and promoting equality.
- 21 Together: A five-year grant of £150,000 will help the team provide training, therapy, resources, interventions, peer support and expert guidance for children and young people with Down’s syndrome, their families and the professionals that support them.
- Girls into Coding: A five-year grant of £75,000 will help the team break down barriers and stereotypes that discourage girls from pursuing careers in technology and helps bridge the gender gap in STEM.
The Co-op Foundation says diverse youth leadership is part of its Future Communities Vision, created by 100 young people.
Nick Crofts, CEO of the Co-op Foundation, said: “The Future Communities Fund is our first co-operative grant-giving programme from our new strategy and just one example of how we’re working to build communities of the future together with young people.
“Supporting young people into leadership positions – through youth leadership at the Co-op Foundation and co-operation with our new partners – is helping us to lay the foundations for a fairer society. The 13 organisations we’re supporting are doing amazing work with and for young people. Our unrestricted and long-term funding will add greater stability and security to their work and help develop the diverse leaders of tomorrow.”
Halima Mohamud, one of the young people from the Foundation’s Future Communities Collective, said: “Being part of the Future Communities Collective has meant we’ve been able support some ground-breaking small organisations through long-term funding.
“The organisations we are supporting have all demonstrated that they are working with their young people to build communities of the future together. Having different understanding and different lived experiences in the room when funding decisions happen has and will have a great impact through the Future Communities Fund.”
The second round of the Future Communities Fund is currently being developed, with new funding to be announced on the Co-op Foundation blog.