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

  • Nineteen charities and community groups share out just under £19,000 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 was related to food and essential supplies to help feed those at risk of going hungry
  • Groups in the following areas have been supported: Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Birmingham, Burton, Wolverhampton, Norwich and Yorkshire


Central England Co-op has handed out nearly £19,000 to 19 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: Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Birmingham, Burton, Wolverhampton, Norwich and Yorkshire.

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 50 applicants shared just under £20,000 when taking in to 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:



  • Charnwood 2020 (Loughborough) - £1,000 – to help support special community groups for girls in two struggling areas
  • Feed the Need (Coalville) - £1,000 – to help buy food, toiletries and cleaning materials for those who have fallen into poverty due to the pandemic
    • Felicity Middleton said: “Feed the Need Coalville are delighted and very grateful to have been awarded £1,000 towards the cost of food parcels for vulnerable families in our community. The Coronavirus pandemic means that more and more people are struggling to put food on the table so this will make a real difference to them.” 
  • Chroma Church - £1,000 – to help pay for food and toiletries
    • Ruth Hollington said: “Chroma Church Food Bank is delighted to receive £1,000 from Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund. This generous donation has enabled us to continue to offer, the essential food and hygiene products our clients require.”
  • Braunstone Community Life Food Bank - £1,000 – to help pay for food supplies and sanitary items
  • Quorn Village CIC - £1,000 – to help for activities for 250 young people who do not belong to organised groups or sports clubs
    • Carolyn Skilling, Secretary, said: “The Quorn Community Interest Company exists to meet needs identified by the community. We plan a festival to mark the end of the COVID-19 pandemic; to raise spirits of all age groups. The event will assist voluntary groups to come together and enable everyone to celebrate at a traditional fair. The Co-op is at the centre of the village and served us well throughout a difficult year. The grant will make a difference by promoting the fair, encouraging participation and thanking our sponsors.”
  • Live Cancer Free - £1,000 – to help for the creation of specialist food parcels for people undergoing treatment for cancer
    • Chief Executive Dr Abeer Kholghi said: “The fund will be used to provide food parcels for cancer patients in Leicester and Leicestershire. It means a lot to us to receive the funding and to be able to support cancer patients during this tough time.”
  • ADAPT Prembabies - £500 – to help supply items for special packs delivered to every new mum on Leicester’s Neonatal units
    • Sue Williams said: “Like all small charities the last year has been a real struggle for us especially as we are completely self-funded and all our fundraising activities and events have had to be cancelled. The grant will go towards us being able to continue giving ADAPT Baby Packs to new mums on the Leicester neonatal units. Most of the mums on the units have had their babies early without any warning so these baby packs give them an emergency supply of nappies, cotton wool, water wipes and other essential items to help them over the first 48 hours of having a premature baby and saves them from having to rush out to the shops for supplies. We really are very grateful to Central England Co-operative’s Community Fund and thank everyone involved for their kindness and support.”



  • Outdoor Tribe (Desborough) - £1,440 – to help pay for mindfulness and nature activities
  • North Northants First Responders - £500 – to help pay for supporting the group and its work assisting East Midlands Ambulance Service during these uncertain times
    • A spokesperson said: “North Northants Community First Responders (NNCFR) are delighted to have been chosen as a recipient of the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund. As a not-for-profit organisation, staffed by a team of volunteers, we are trained by, and provide an emergency response to the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), whereby we are dispatched to patients following a 999 call, in order to stabilise and provide initial life-saving treatment prior to the ambulance arriving. The grant awarded will allow us to purchase an additional life-saving kit for one of our responders, where they are currently having to share the limited number of kits that we have. This kit will allow us to have an additional volunteer to be ‘on call’ to provide our community with this vital service.”



  • Fill the Gap (Rugby) - £1,000 – to help for food supplies for low income families
    • A spokesperson said: “We are so grateful for the Community Dividend Fund grant received from Central England Co-operative. This means we can feed families in Rugby that have fallen through the gap of government funding. We may even use the vouchers for Easter Eggs if there is any money left over! These little gestures are so important for our families especially the children who deserve them, we have all been through a tough 12 months but the devastation it has left some families in is unthinkable. We are here to take a little bit of the burden. If the families have to choose between paying bills or food then we are the service for them. Our vision for the future is educational for adults and the children.”



  • Northfield Community Partnership - £1,000 – to help pay for food supplies, PPE and the creation of food parcels
    • Bob Jones said: “Northfield Community Partnership  (NCP) is hugely grateful to Central England Co-op for providing a grant of £1,000 towards our food bank. NCP is a charity serving some of the most vulnerable in South West Birmingham, providing a range of vital services. During lockdown, NCP has led on a range of interventions ensuring that communities and people continue to receive the support that they need. The NCP foodbank supports an average of 20 to 25 households a day , this grant will allow NCP to support an extra 300 people during these difficult times.”
  • Bethany Community Outreach - £1,000 – to help pay for food, transport costs and drivers
    • Kevin Warrington said: “Thank you once again to Central England Co-op on behalf of Bethany Food Bank for the kind donation. As we are feeding over 1,000 people per week this will help us continue to keep our food bank open during these difficult times.”
  • Gro Organic CIC - £1,000 – to help a project designed to install three new raised beds to help promote health and wellbeing in the local area
    • Tal Arrowsmith, Youth & Community Engagement Lead, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from Central England Co-op for our community gardening project “Dig-It”. The funding will enable us to purchase better tools and seeds for food growing. Dig-It crew members are adults with additional needs who rely on the project to broaden their social networks and improve their physical activity.”



  • Community Cans Can Help (Stapenhill) - £500 – to help for food and vital essentials



  • I Love Dudley - £1,000 – to help buy food, toiletries and washing items for local people in need
    • A spokesperson said: “On behalf of the I Love Dudley trustees I would like to say thank you for the generous grant of £1,000. Since April 2020, our charity has been delivering food parcels and emergency supplies to residents in and around Dudley. The generous £1,000 grant will go towards the purchase of food and essential supplies for individuals and families in need."



  • Norwich Homeless Support - £1,500 – to help buy food for the creation of food parcels that will support local homeless people
    • Eric Hewson said: “Thank you to Central England Co-operative for the donation. This will make a massive difference to those who we help from the homeless community on our weekly lunch feeds to those we help with food parcels across Norwich, particularly the rural areas where a food bank does not run.”
  • Silver Parcels Food Bank - £1,000 – to help pay for food and shelving
    • Manager Julie Brociek-Coulton said: “We are so grateful to the Community Dividend Fund because we were in desperate need of shelves to store food which has been bought and donated to us, so the £500 will be great for that and the £500 vouchers will help us to keep our food bank stocked for our residents who need our help, maybe not every week, but are so glad we are there to support them.”
  • Wells Community Hospital Trust - £2,000 – to help with the creation and launch of support groups for local people
    • Simon Prince, Income Generation & Deputy General Manager, said: “Having the opportunity to provide a placement for a social work student has enabled us to build on the support we give to our community. This grant will help the organisation to set up much needed support services for all aspects of the community in a truly inclusive way. In the long run it will also mean that we can continue to offer placement positions to students, by suppling the relevant support for their learning.”



  • Luv2MeetU (Sheffield and Derbyshire) - £500 – to help continue to develop a friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism
    • Karen England, Luv2meetU Manager, said: “We’re so grateful to have been awarded a £500 grant by Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund. In the last year, life has changed immeasurably for people with learning disabilities and autism, with many feeling lonely and isolated as a result. It’s been so rewarding to transform our programme of community-based events and activities into a virtual calendar, which has enabled our members to stay connected, make friends and socialise at a time when social interaction is needed more than ever. Thanks to this generous grant, we’re looking forward to adapting our Sheffield offering to deliver even more activities each week to our 60 local members, alongside other forms of support including telephone check-ins and the provision of accessible resources.”





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.