We have handed out £18,760 to 13 charities and good causes as an early Christmas present 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 and the busy festive season.
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: Birmingham, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk and Northamptonshire.
A further 18 good causes who also applied for funding were handed co-op gift vouchers to support their work during the pandemic and in the run up to Christmas.
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, especially during the festive season.”
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 https://www.centralengland.coop/community/
Below is a full breakdown of good causes handed funding listed via county:
· Digikick - £2,000 – to help people who are digitally excluded stay in touch and learn new skills
o Nicola Shaw, from the group, said: ““The Covid crisis meant our service had to move online but, with this grant from the Community Dividend Fund, we plan to resume our popular community sessions in a safe way.”
· Diamond Hampers - £1,000 – to buy food to ensure those in need do not go hungry
o Founder Lianne Simpson said: “We were thrilled to be awarded this grant. This will make an unbelievable difference to so many people in need across the wider community. The money will be used for the purchase of emergency food supplies and other living essentials for people living in poverty. I can't express enough what a difference this will make to hundreds of people.”
· St Neots Volunteer Centre - £250 – to help create Christmas hampers for elderly people in the community
o Alison Walter, from the group, said: “money will go towards the Neighbourly Afternoon Tea, Tme Exchanging Reminiscences at St Neots Volunteer Centre. This is a tea and chat to local residents in St Neots who may be experiencing social isolation. Our own car scheme drivers offer lifts to and from the venue where a healthy lunch is also provided. Due Covid-19 we have been unable to meet up. The funding will go towards a Christmas Hamper for the group members, many of whom are vulnerable and had to stay in during the pandemic. The hampers will give the members a tremendous lift during these difficult times and to remind them we are still all part of a group.”
· Food for Nought, Peterborough - £2,500 – running cost to support a van to redistribute surplus food to food banks and the homeless
· Horsley Village Hall - £1,000 – to support its natter café and efforts to end loneliness among elderly people in the local area
o David Pinion, from the group, said: “Horsey Village Hall Management Committee are delighted to team up with Central England Co-op to provide a hot lunchtime meal for all OAP’s and anybody in difficulty, twice a month for six months when the ‘Natter Cafe’ re-opens. Now that we have a brand new Village Hall, it is an ideal way of helping those in the village that have had a lonely time in the last nine months and an opportunity to have a hot meal and to meet up and chat.”
· Harness Coaching CIC, in Derby - £1,950 – to run sessions to help people dealing with issues of stress
· Safe and Sound Group, in Derby, £2,000 – to fund 200 hours of one-on-one support for young people at risk of being exploited
o Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “Lockdown and the continued restriction on social gatherings has heightened the risk of child exploitation.
“Children and young people were initially not in school and many of the positive activities they have enjoyed continue to be cancelled or reduced.
“This has naturally led to increased stress and isolation with young people spending far more time online and therefore at greater risk of grooming.
“Many young people have also faced additional issues including increased financial pressures on families and heightened tensions at home which make they more susceptible to manipulative grooming from sexual predators and drugs gangs - both online and in person.
“Our focus from the start of the pandemic was to mitigate the risks of online grooming through awareness of the importance of privacy settings and the dangers of unhealthy relationships.
“We are now able to support more young people and their families face to face and re-introduce positive activities and work to support young people back into education.
“We have also returned to our grassroots as a charity and launched an outreach programme to engage directly with young people and highlight the dangers they face at the hands of individuals and groups.
“We are therefore extremely grateful for the support from the Community Dividend Fund which will help us support more vulnerable young people and families in our local communities.”
· Clare and Lucy’s Community Hub, in Syston - £1,000 – to fund the creation of food packages that will be delivered to those in the community who are disabled, suffer with mental health problems, unemployment or loneliness
· Live Well Dementia Care and Activity Club - £1,000 – equipment and furniture to help people with dementia
o Katie Grigg, from the club, said: ““This grant is fantastic news for our group members. We have recently moved into new premises and the grant will enable us to get new furniture and items to do some new activities.
“All of our group members have dementia and the lockdown has been very tough for them due to having so little social interaction.
“We now have a private garden in the new premises so we will use some of the grant to buy some outdoor games and furniture ready for the summer.”
· The Nurture Project - £1,250 – to cover the cost of the ‘It’s not just a walk in the park programme’ for 12 months which aims to provide nature based therapy to adults living with mental health problems
o Founder Carlyn Kilpatrick said: “As an extension of our horticultural therapy work, The Nurture Project is currently involved in, we have developed a new nature therapy programme delivering small group work to adults living with mental ill health in our woodland setting.
“This Community Dividend Fund grant means we now have the opportunity to further enhance the woodland site making it accessible to a greater number of people and for a sustained period of time.
“The demand for mental health support has seen sharp increases over the last few months as has our awareness of the natural world. With Central England Co-Operative’s grant we are well placed to continue delivering a much needed service, so thank you”
· All Saints Community Rooms, Mundesley - £2,500 – to support a community food service for local people
· Baby Basics West Norfolk - £1,000 – to pay for Moses baskets and items that are handed to struggling new mothers
· The KidsAid Foundation - £1,310 – to deliver one-on-one sessions for youngsters who have experience trauma such as via abuse or domestic violence
o Hellie Wright, Chair of Trustees at KidsAid, said: “We are delighted to hear that the Co-op Community Dividend Fund has chosen to support KidsAid and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed towards making this funding award possible.”