Seven good causes share nearly £8,000 funding boost to tackle COVID-19 related problems thanks to our community fund

We have handed out nearly £8,000 to seven 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: Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire and Norfolk.

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 27 applicants shared just over £8,000 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

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


· Ashby CAP Debt Counselling - £1,000 – to pay for a new laptop, mobile phone and to support fund-raising

Director Katie Johnson said: “This gift will allow us to buy essential office equipment; a new laptop, mobile phone, shredder and filing system for our brand new debt centre manager, plus provide the seed money for a fundraising dinner we hope we can hold towards the end of 2021 or spring 2022. With so many out of work and struggling to cope with the aftermath of increased bills as people had to stay home and work / educate their children, unmanageable debt has become  more of an issue than ever before. Thank you so much.”


· Rushden Sea Cadets - £360 – to pay for first aid training for volunteers

David Pickles, Chairman of Rushden Sea Cadets Trustees, said: “At Rushden Sea Cadets we pride ourselves on being able to offer local youngsters a great headstart in life. As a charity, we rely on volunteers to enable us to do this and the past year has been extremely challenging for all of us. This grant will allow us to get some essential first aid training for our new volunteers, meaning very soon we will be able to get more youngsters out on the water, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and generally having fun outdoors.”


· Reach CIC - £500 – to help support vulnerable and isolated people in the local community


· Petrapeace, in St Mundesley, - £800 – to pay for a lightweight portable full size piano keyboard

Peter Shearer, from the group, said: “The Community Dividend Fund grant we have just received will enable us to buy a suitable keyboard to use on our Mundesley Collective days in the near future. These aim to provide music and art therapy to various venues to progress this project which aims to make a therapeutic impact on people's needs after a year of the pandemic.”


· Woven Reform - £500 – to pay for mental health first aid training and a Zoom license

· Good Companions - £2,700 – to pay the wages of a lead co-ordinator for 13 weeks


· Harness Coaching CIC - £1,950 – to help fund 10 workshops to support people suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and isolation

Steph Gaunt, from the group, said: “We are so thankful to be awarded this Community Dividend Fund award! We provide vital mental health and well-being support for the most vulnerable and isolated in our local community. The need for support has increased due to the pressures of Covid restrictions and lockdown. This award is vital as it will enable us to run equine workshops and provide immediate support to those most in need. Spending time with our horses and coaches will help at risk adults and young people to find calmness and learn positive coping strategies and life skills.”
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