Fifteen good causes share just under £15,000 funding boost to tackle COVID-19 related problems thanks to Co-op community fund

  • Fifteen charities and community groups share out just under £15,000 in funding from Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund
  • The retailer, which has 262 stores across 16 counties, has allocated the grants to provide short-term bursts to projects and organisations impacted by COVID-19
  • The most requested item for funds included food for those in need and to help launch or restart vital community services
  • Groups in the following areas have been supported: Leicester, Atherstone, Nuneaton, Dudley, Birmingham, Lowestoft, King’s Lynn, Godmanchester, Reepham, Derwent, Derby, Huddersfield

Central England Co-op has handed out nearly £15,000 to 15 charities and good causes as part of its revamped Community Dividend Fund aimed at providing quick funding boosts to help those impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.

A wide range of charities and community organisations were delighted to receive the funding boost during these uncertain times.

Normally, grants from the fund are handed out four times a year to a wide range of organisations but, during the coming months, it has been decided to hand grants out on a monthly basis to support those suffering financial hardship due to the pandemic and others looking to step in to help those affected.

Organisations in the following areas have benefitted from a grant: Leicester, Atherstone, Nuneaton, Dudley, Birmingham, Lowestoft, King’s Lynn, Godmanchester, Reepham, Derwent, Derby andHuddersfield.

All applicants, regardless of their success, are all given Co-op vouchers to help support their great work in the community. Therefore, a total of 34 applicants shared just over £15,000 when taking into account full grants and vouchers awarded.

Jim Watts, Society Secretary, said: “In response to the current crisis, we made some changes to our Community Dividend Fund scheme to provide immediate financial support for local good causes, community groups and charities who are responding to some of the most worrying impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Community Dividend Fund grants showcase how by being a member and shopping at your local Central England Co-op store allows us as a Society to continue to invest and fund vital projects in the area – especially during uncertain times like these.

“We are delighted to have been able to support these amazing causes and help them make a difference in our communities.”
To apply, members will need: name, address, membership number, organisation type, organisation bank account or constitution and to explain what the group does, how the grant will be spent and the specific impact it will have related to COVID-19.

People can find out the full criteria and how to apply for funding by visiting


Notes to editors


Below is a full breakdown of good causes handed funding listed via county:



  • Shepshed Toy Library - £100 – to help continue its vital community work
    • Catherine Tideswell, toy library manager, said: “It costs at least £15,000 just to run our organisation alone each year. Most of our costs are primarily used for running costs. However, we will find the Co-op's donation useful to purchase household items such as hand sanitiser, stationery, snacks and drinks for when we open up the stay and play sessions.” 
  • Shepshed Volunteer Centre - £1,800 – to fix its roof so it’s ready post-lockdown to offer services to adults with additional needs
    • Candi Barnes said: “This Central England Co-op funding will provide essential repairs to our activity shed in the Shepshed Well-Being Garden. This gives us back a COVID-19 secure space to provide much needed support and activities to individuals and groups in Shepshed.”



  • Warley Baptist Church - £1,500 – funding to help pay for food and essentials to help create hot meals and food parcels for families in need
    • Peter Spence said: “Thank you so much Central England Co-op, the award of this grant will allow us to continue to serve hot meals to some of the most isolated and vulnerable in our community. This money will make such a difference to them."
  • St Thomas Centre Nursery - £500 – funding for seeds, social and plant pots to encourage people to do more in the garden
  • Headway Birmingham and Solihull- £1,497 – to help support its work during the pandemic
    • Helen Bourke, Manager for Acquired Brain Injury Services at Headway Birmingham & Solihull, said: “We can’t thank Central England Co-op enough for awarding us this grant. It means we can buy a new interactive whiteboard, something that we cannot easily fund ourselves right now even though we know how much of a difference it will make. We’ll use it to help us deliver a range of online sessions to our clients while our brain injury centres are closed during COVID, and then afterwards to bring technology to the classroom, encouraging greater interaction and more creative session delivery.”



  • Time Out Support Services, in Atherstone - £1,500 – to pay for a range of services to help older people and those suffering from isolation including paying for clothing, food and companionship calls
    • Julie Goodman said: “Time Out would like to say a massive thank you to the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund for our recent grant. We will use this funding to continue our community food scheme for residents in Baddesley Ensor and Grendon. This scheme consists of delivery of a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables and other essential items free of charge to vulnerable residents. This grant will make a really positive difference to people living in our rural communities. The scheme has been a huge success so far and provides valuable contact for each person receiving a bag as we offer delivery and it also supports both their physical and mental wellbeing.”
  • Warwickshire Social Inclusions Partnership, in Nuneaton - £500 – to help renovate its premises so it can provide vital support for people with mental health problems



  • Dudley for the love of scrubs - £1,175 – to pay for a range of materials to create vital items for people in need from NHS staff to victims of abuse
    • Lisa Maidment, founder and leader, said: “It is an exciting time for us, as we have taken the step to become a fully-fledged charity. The generous funding supplied to us by Central England Co-op will allow us to furnish our first premises with equipment we need to enable us to continue to provide our community with the handmade-with-love items we are becoming well-known for.”



  • Kirkley Pantry, Lowestoft - £690 – to pay for new shelving to accommodate rise in demand of people in need of support getting out of food poverty
    • Churchwarden Lorraine Light said: “It will make such a difference to be able to display the fresh food in an attractive and easy to access way. We hope this new display will inspire our members to create healthy, nutritious and tasty meals at home.”
  • NCT West Norfolk Branch Clothes Bank, King’s Lynn - £500 – to pay for equipment, toys and toiletries to help local parents in need
  • Field of Joy, Reepham - £1,625 – to help pay for the development of a garden area for use by vulnerable and disadvantaged adults



  • Godmanchester Community School PTA - £600 – to help pay for new books for the pupils
    • Laury De Re said: “Thanks to the Central England Co-op Community Dividend grant we will be able to offer a wider range of books to the children in the seven different year group bubbles in our school.”



  • Revive Healthy Living, in Derwent - £1,500 – to pay for vital food and essentials for local people in need
  • Scropton Riding for the Disabled - £1,000 – to help pay for specialist training to continue its work support disabled youngsters
    • Glynis Dalley, Trustee, said: “Support from the Central England Co-op Community Fund has helped Scropton Riding for the Disabled take another step on its road to re-opening. After a very tough year due to COVID-19 we are finally making plans to re-open so news of a grant of £1,000 was just what we needed to hear. The money is going to help us set up new ground-based activities with horses that will help mental health and well-being; something needed now more than ever. It's great to have support from the local community like this. We were nominated for this support by a shopper at the local store in Hatton, where staff and visitors from our centre are regular customers. Huge thanks and neighs to everyone at the Co-op for your help; we know it’s going to help make a very real difference to a lot of lives.”




  • Streetbikes, in Huddersfield - £500 – to support the charity which provides upcycled bikes
    • Clare Taylor said: “Many thanks from Streetbikes for the generous donation from the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund. We will use the money to help maintain one of our many adapted bikes at our mixed ability cycling sessions that are available to all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Post lockdown it is vital to be able to provide activities that will improve people’s mental and physical well-being.”






About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,550 colleagues serve customers across over 400 trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


Its purpose is to inspire communities to help create a ‘sustainable Society for all’, a strong and successful Society that is invested in protecting the environment and the wellbeing of all of its colleagues, members, and customers.