Causes urged to apply for Co-op funding

The challenges of the pandemic are far from over for grassroot local community groups, according to a new survey from the Co-op.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 5:00 am

It found 76 per cent of community causes expected demand for their services to increase over the next six months, including 94 per cent working to support mental wellbeing, 96 per cent supporting young people and 83 per cent tackling food poverty.

Over 3,000 local causes from across the UK shared how the pandemic has affected their groups and communities, making the survey one of the largest of its kind, and highlighting that support for local community groups is needed now more than ever.

Co-op is inviting grassroots projects in Midlothian that support access to food, help improve mental wellbeing or provide opportunities for young people, to apply for the Local Community Fund.

Applications are open until May 30 by visiting www.coop.co.uk/causes, with the fund having supported 39 local causes in Midlothian, raising £95,500, since it began in 2016.

Despite 53 per cent of causes saying funding has decreased, the survey evidenced their resilience and ingenuity in responding to the pandemic, with 76 per cent delivering their services in new ways, 75 per cent finding new sources of funding and 70 per cent developing and improving their digital skills.

Co-op’s current Local Community Fund causes are already playing a key role in helping communities rebuild, with 95 per cent stating their project was helping their community’s response to the pandemic.

Rebecca Birkbeck, director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op said: “Our Local Community Fund and support from our members has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic, and we want even more local groups to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Members are encouraged to select a cause each round, allowing them to support grassroots causes in Midlothian that they really care about.

“This year, when a group applies we will also connect them to Co-operate, our online community centre, where they can benefit from help and support from like-minded people and causes.

"This is an exciting development which shows the power of co-operation beyond funding.”