As children headed back to school in August, retailer Coop Norway announced it would continue to sponsor leisure activities for children from low-income families.
The campaign is also backed by suppliers Tine, Orkla Foods Norge and Goman, and is run in collaboration with the Red Cross, which covers the membership fees, training fees, equipment and other necessary costs for low-income families.
“Coop is concerned with equal opportunities and is incredibly happy that Tine, Orkla Foods Norge and Goman support the Coop effort,” said the co-op’s managing director Philipp Engedal. “Next to school, sports and leisure activities are the most important community and inclusion arena for children and young people. As we increase our voluntary efforts, more children will be able to continue with their leisure activities.”
Launched in 2018, the campaign has seen Coop Norway support over 6,000 children from all over the country and distribute over NOK25m. Families will have two application windows in August and December to apply for funding.
“The number of applicants [for leisure activities in 2023] was far higher than expected, and it is worrying that so many need financial support,” added Engedal. “At the same time, we are very happy that we were able to help all the children who met the criteria and applied for help. The fact that some of our good grocery suppliers are now joining the team means that we can help even more people.”
The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs estimates that one in 10 children live in poverty in Norway.
“Every year, Red Cross volunteers meet around 100,000 children and young people through our various activities. In many of our activities, we see that parents are very worried about the economic depression,” said Cecilie Thuv, marketing director at the Red Cross.
“When you have little money, leisure activities are one of the first things to go. We are, therefore, pleased that more people are taking part in the Coop effort to give even more children meaningful free time and access to important social meeting places through everything from sports, school bands, dance and other leisure activities.”
To support the campaign, Coop Norway pledged to donate a proportion of profits made from the sale of staple products, such as cheese, pâte and bread, between 7 August to 3 September. Customers were able to support the campaign by buying these products in stores.
“All children should have the opportunity to participate in leisure activities and sports offered around their local communities. At Tine, we want to contribute to creating healthy and good habits among children and young people throughout Norway, and this Coop fundraising initiative is a great opportunity to make a difference,” said Tine’s sponsorship manager, Ann-Kristin Syversen.
“Sports and leisure activities give children and young people lifelong experiences, and our society is also well served by this. Unfortunately, it is not a given that everyone gets the opportunity to participate, and then we see how important measures such as the Coop effort are,” said Ulrik Rosted, brand manager Stabbur-Makrell and Stabburet Leverpostei at Orkla Foods Norway.
Coop will also donate NOK0.1 for every product sold in its Änglamark range. Customers can also donate to the campaign via their Coop app or in-store.
More information, application criteria, deadlines and the application process is available on the Coop’s Red Cross page.