The Big Birthday Awards, launched on Monday, are open to community groups, schools, NHS organisations, charities and other good causes across the society’s trading area.
The society was founded in 1861 when Thomas Parker and a group of like-minded people set up a store at 1 Napoleon Place, Lincoln.
Their aim was to provide a fair deal to working people, enabling them to own their own business and share in the profits. They also wanted to give education to members and support their local communities.
To commemorate this, application packs for the Big Birthday Awards are available from all Lincolnshire Co-op outlets and the deadline for submissions is July 1st. Projects should have one of the following themes: Community sport, heritage, health, environment or education. On offer are five grants of £25,000, ten grants of £10,000, 20 grants of £5,000, 40 grants of £2,500 and 75 grants of £1,000.
Membership and Community Manager Sam Turner said: “We want to see applications from a wide range of organisations across our trading area — from scout packs in Grimsby to sports clubs in Spalding, from schools in Newark and youth clubs in Lincoln to history groups on the coast. We can’t wait to hear about the good work going on throughout our community.”
She added: “The Big Birthday Awards are a great way of celebrating what makes Lincolnshire Co-op different in our 150th year.”
The awards will put an additional £500,000 into good causes to celebrate the society’s birthday and Lincolnshire will continue to issue grants, donations and sponsorships as normal in 2011.
And the awards are just one element of the celebrations, which will bring months packed with activities for customers, colleagues, and 198,000 members. Other events include the Big Birthday Bash at Lincolnshire Showground on September 3rd, featuring music from Scouting For Girls, Lulu and a host of local acts.
There will be a huge firework display, a fun fair, displays of vintage vehicles and a local food hall at the family friendly event. Lincolnshire Co-op members can get £10 discount on tickets.
August 19th is the society’s official birthday and there will be events going on across Lincolnshire Co-op’s 200 outlets, including presentations of Big Birthday Awards to successful local groups.
Throughout the summer, Lincolnshire Co-op’s Membership and Community team will be visiting local shows. The exhibition trailer is a 1970s bus which the society’s transport department has restored as a donation to the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society.
At the shows, people will be asked to fill in a memory book with a message of support or a reminiscence of Lincolnshire Co-op through the years. Each person who leaves a message will receive a special Birthday Cupcake crafted by the society’s bakers, Gadsby’s.
A history book written by Alan Middleton, former Lincolnshire Co-op director and local co-operative historian, will be published in September. In the same month, an exhibition will start at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.
Other highlights include a scratchcard promotion, a birthday brew made by Bateman’s, a special commemorative pack of bulbs produced by Taylor’s of Spalding and the release of digital versions of the society’s archives.
The society’s Chief Executive Ursula Lidbetter said: “2011 is set to be a year to remember for all our loyal customers, colleagues, and of course, our members. We’re a successful co-operative which has not only survived, but thrived for the last 150 years. It’s an achievement and it’s because our values have stood the test of time.”