A RECORD spring "divi" payout of £ 15.6 million by the the Co-operative Group ensured a bumper Bank Holiday weekend for tens of thousands of members.
Around 1.8 million Co-op Dividend loyalty cardholders benefitted from the massive payout, while many community projects also received a £ 552,000 boost, thanks to customers donating their spare pennies to the Community Dividend scheme.
The largest single amount ever paid out ? £ 2,490 ? went to Lowdham Church of England Primary School in Nottinghamshire from the Cash for Schools Dividend scheme, which enables teachers, parents, relatives and friends to earn cash for their school every time they shop at Co-op Group food stores using their school's Dividend card number.
The school plans to put the money to good use by repairing its all-weather sports area.
Top individual Dividend earners this time around include a Co-op customer from Newark, Notts, who received a £ 360 May payout; a shopper in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, who earned a £ 303 Bank Holiday "Divi" and a cardholder from Oban who is £ 294 better off .
On average, Co-op Dividend pays twice as much as other food retailers' schemes and card holders earn cash back on all their purchases ? triple Dividend of 3p for every £ 1 spent on Co-op brand goods and fresh foods, including fresh produce and fresh meat, and 1p Dividend for every £ 1 spent on all other groceries.
A further benefit is that it is the only loyalty card scheme to offer a cash return.
Holidays booked with Travelcare also qualify for a one per cent Dividend reward.
Ged Carter, general manager, marketing, at the Co-operative Group, said: "The Co-op Dividend loyalty scheme is an important way of rewarding our shoppers for their custom and in true co-operative style, the scheme also has an added community element thanks to the generosity of our customers.
"Local causes will receive over half a million pounds this time around, bringing the total Community Dividend payment to date to £ 5.4 million."
Information leaflets on the Co-op Dividend Card or for Co-op Community Dividend funds are available in Co-op Group food stores. These are also available on the internet along with more information on Cash for Schools by visiting: www.co-op.co.uk/dividend.