We have handed out £25,000 to 10 charities and good causes as part of our 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: Derbyshire, Suffolk, Leicestershire, West Midlands, Stafford, Market Harborough and Warwickshire.
· Bus Park Community Hub and Café (Swadlincote) - £2,500 – to continue its meals on wheels service to help 55 vulnerable and elderly people in Swadlincote and the surrounding area
· Ditchingham Men’s Shed (Bungay) - £2,000 – to help with the creation of a men’s shed, a community space for local people to meet, work and socialise after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted
Teresa Davies, from the group, said: “This grant will allow the shed to connect its electricity supply. This will enable us to connect all our machinery and lighting and diversify into other activities. The shed is not all about woodwork. We are in quite a rural area so want to combat social isolation, particularly in men as they do not cope as well as women following a bereavement or retirement. We do allow ladies as well - everyone is welcome.”
· Feed the Need Coalville - £5,000 – to help support the new food bank to ensure its premises are safe, warm and COVID-19 secure
Founder Felicity Middleton said: “The grant will be used to renovate our premises in Coalville which we moved into at the beginning of January. We want to create a warm, safe and welcoming space where people can come to collect food parcels and receive support and advice with money problems. I don’t know why we were the ones to be chosen but I hope that our application showed that we were genuinely inspired and motivated to help the community that both relies on us and supports us through this most difficult time.”
· Broughton Astley Volunteer Group - £1,200 – to pay for two all-weather benches made from recycled plastic for community use post pandemic
A group spokesperson said: “The Broughton Astley Volunteer Group are absolutely delighted to receive funding. The grant will be used to provide seating in the wildlife garden which is accessible to all the village. This will also provide a resting area to over 50 volunteers who have signed up for our conservation group who will be working on maintaining the site. We firmly believe that this area will benefit the whole community as well as providing quite a peaceful setting to enable outdoor counselling to take place.”
· St Anne’s Church (Burntwood) - £2,098 – to help with the creation of a community garden
A spokesperson for the church said: “We are delighted to have been granted these funds from Central England Co-operative’s Community Dividend Fund to help with our new Community Garden Project at St Anne’s Church in Chasetown. With the funds we will be able to buy essential tools, seeds, plants and a greenhouse and it will also help to get our outdoor drop in café going too. We hope that the garden and outdoor drop in café will be a place (when restrictions are lifted) where people will feel safe and welcome and also talk through worries and anxieties which many of us have as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. Many people have found that their emotional wellbeing has taken a real hit during the pandemic and we believe the new community gardening space at St Anne’s Church could be the first of a number of similar spaces locally, ‘greening’ our locality and helping the wellbeing of members of the community who get involved.”
· Solidarity Kitchen (Digbeth) - £2,500 – to continue providing weekly meals during the pandemic for those in need locally
· YMCA Sutton Coldfield - £4,720 – to revamp its specialist facilities ready for when it can provide vital support for disadvantaged young people post pandemic
Deputy CEO Stephanie Patrick said: “We were so delighted to hear we had received a Central England Co-op Community Fund grant. As a small charity we need to raise all our own funds so that we can support disadvantaged and vulnerable young people and their families in Sutton Coldfield and the greater Birmingham area. This grant will make a really big difference as it will allow us to completely fix the floor in our meeting room which has become badly damaged and broken over the years. As a result we'll be able to use this space to run more sessions for our groups including Stepping Up for adults with learning disabilities. This is so badly needed as Covid-19 has left our members lonely, isolated and struggling with their mental health at home. Our young carers groups, for children who care for a family member, also use the room every week and will be really excited to see the difference.”
· The Katherine Allport Foundation – £2,000 – to fund the creation of 20 care hampers filled with essentials for those who are starting cancer treatment
Scott Allport said: “We are delighted that The Katherine Allport Foundation has received a generous donation of £2,000 from Central England Co-op. It has enabled us to keep saying ‘yes’ when we receive a request to provide a free chemotherapy hamper to someone starting cancer treatment. Charities such as ours are relying on generous donations from organisations such as Central England Co-op and we are thankful that time and time again, they step up and support the local community.”
· Harborough Hygiene Bank - £450 – to help provide personal and household hygiene products for those losing in hygiene poverty
Judy Rowley, co-ordinator from Harborough Hygiene Bank, said: “We are incredibly grateful for this grant, which is going to have a huge impact in supporting local people. We will purchase some weighing scales for our storage facility and will use the remainder to purchase household cleaning products - these are items we don’t tend to receive much of through donations and they are needed now more than ever so this is going to make a big difference! Our work relies purely on donations, without them we literally couldn’t do the work we do so this means a lot to us. Thank you from all of us at The Hygiene Bank for your support and recognising the work we do.”
· The Myton Hospices - £2,500 – to help pay for visits by nurses or nurses assistants to provide end of life care for patients in their homes
Director of Income Generation and Supporter Engagement Charlotte Ingram: “We are delighted to have received a grant for £2,500 from Central England Co-operative’s Community Dividend Fund. The money will be used to fund 25 visits from our Myton at Home team so that patients and families can get the support they need in their own home. During the global pandemic we have seen more people preferring to receive end of life care at home so this money will make a real difference at a time when it is needed most.”
All applicants, regardless of their success, are all given Co-op vouchers to help support their great work in the community.
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 https://www.centralengland.coop/community/