david-stead-270

Executive Director of Philanthropy and Development
Charities Aid Foundation

T: +44 (0) 3000 123 494
E: dstead@cafonline.org

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Shoppers send millions to good causes close to home

Co-op shoppers have helped raise over £50 million for local causes across the UK.

Our corporate advisory team has been working with the Co-op over the last three years to deliver the Local Community Fund (LCF), donating money to over 16,000 organisations chosen by customers.

For 2018/19, an incredible £17.3m was donated to thousands of charities who applied to be considered for funding.

More than 4400 good causes received funding from the programme, which is also funded by money raised from shopping bag sales.

This is thanks to Co-op members, who help decide how 1% of all of their spending on selected own-branded products and services is distributed to community projects all across the UK and the Isle of Man.

Celebrating the power of community

To celebrate the impact of the programme, thousands of Co-op stores host a celebration day every year to thank its members and hand over cheques to local charities and community groups.

Titled ‘The Big Payout’, the event brings together members of the community and the good causes they help donate to.

One of the organisations celebrating this year was the volunteer-run Westhoughton Age Support Project (WASP), which received over £8,500 to help support the elderly community who are lonely and feel isolated.

Speaking about the LCF, bid writer Barbara Weston said it has been “the best thing” for the charity.

She said the funds have been used to subsidise coach outings for the elderly community, many of whom have mobility difficulties that previously prevented them from being able to travel.

Her father Wilf Dillon, who is 97 years old and is the treasurer and events organiser for the charity, said: “We’ve been able to host 18 different events in the last year and even hosted a Christmas dinner with 120 people this December. This hugely improves the quality of life for the elderly community here. And we wouldn’t have been able to do that without the support from the Co-op.”

“Not just a place to buy groceries”

On the importance of the programme, Barbara said: “It is important for big companies like the Co-op to have a social conscience. They provide much-needed funds for small charities that do not have the means to pursue individual donors.”

She added: “The Co-op has always been the hub of the local community. The Westhoughton store staff have greatly added to the notion that the Co-op is not just a place to buy groceries. They show those who benefit from the funds that they matter.”

Another organisation involved in the nationwide celebration was Daisy UK, who support people with disabilities.

The charity, which runs inclusive sports events and disability awareness workshops across Merseyside, received donations of over... NEEDS TO BE ADDED IN 

Phil Leeson, fundraising officer, said: “The funding strengthens organisations like ours and extends our reach. We struggle to promote ourselves so it just helps us reach those people that need our help or someone like us..”

He added: “The Co-op staff have been fabulous. As well as financial support they really get involved and attend events throughout the year.

“I think it’s important for big brands and everyone in the community to get involved. It’s part of what makes a stronger community where everyone is coming together. And it’s great for people who need a safety net.”

Making it happen 

Collaboration was key to making the LCF a success.

For us, having a user-friendly way to verify small organisations was vital; many of the organisations that the Co-op wanted to reach were small and not registered on the charity commission.

Our solution was to provide a guided online verification process for the applicants.

In addition to that, we processed payments and were on hand to answer their queries.

As part of the LCF, new causes are selected every 12 months.

The top cause for 2018/2019 was young people, with £4m going to relevant organisations.

The second highest cause was social inclusion, receiving just over £2.7m in funding.

Klara Kozlov, Head of Corporate Clients at CAF, added: “We are so pleased to see these amazing results from our partnership with the Co-op. The loyalty programme is such a great example of how brands can really help to benefit good causes and organisations that otherwise might have struggled to receive that level of funding. It also shows the power of community and how meaningful it is for people to stay connected to local causes.”

April Armstrong, from the Co-op Community and Shared Value team, said: “People’s generosity and genuine interest in helping local causes always amazes us. Every year we see just how much shoppers want to give to help their local community. This year is especially poignant because we have raised an incredible £56 million in total, and we couldn’t be prouder of that. A big thank you goes to our shoppers, and CAF, who made this happen.”