Midlothian causes urged to apply for Co-op community fund as deadline looms

There is only a matter of days left to apply for the Local Community Fund, which closes at midnight on Sunday (June 13).

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 5:00 am
Stock photo.
Stock photo.

The challenges of the pandemic are far from over for grassroot local community groups, according to a new survey from the Co-op. It found more than three quarters (76 per cent) of surveyed community causes expected demand for their services to increase over the next six months, including a huge 94 per cent of groups working to support mental wellbeing, 96 per cent of groups supporting young people and 83 per cent of those 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 before.

To address this and help create fairer communities, 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 have been extended and now close at midnight on Sunday, June 13, and local groups can find out more at https://coop.co.uk/causes.

The Local Community Fund has supported 39 local causes in Midlothian, raising £95,500 since it began in 2016.

Despite 53 per cent of causes saying that funding has decreased, the survey evidenced the resilience and ingenuity of local community groups 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 of causes stating that 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 Co-op vision is ‘co-operating for a fairer world’ and it’s heartening to see this come to life in these grass roots projects. 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.

“Findings from the survey, our own Community Wellbeing Index, members and colleagues has shown us that we can all come together to make the world a fairer place. Even with the easing of lockdown, the communities across the UK will still need our help.

“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 for the Local Community Fund, we will also connect them to Co-operate (coop.co.uk/co-operate), our online community centre, where they can come together and 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.”

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services