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166 groups share over £170,000 in 2021 thanks to the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund

166 groups share over £170,000 in 2021 thanks to the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund.

Central England Co-op handed out over £170,000 to 136 charities and good causes as part of its revamped Community Dividend Fund during 2021 in a bid to help support access to food, health and wellbeing, inclusion and the environment.

A wide range of charities and community organisations were delighted to receive the funding boost during the past 12 months.

Groups apply for between £100 to £5,000 every two months to support all manner of projects with organisations in the following areas benefitting from a grant: Derbyshire, Leicestershire, the West Midlands, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Warwickshire and Wolverhampton.

Jim Watts, Society Secretary, said: “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.

“Our relaunched fund aligns with our new Society Purpose to create a sustainable Society for all and we are delighted to share these funds with these amazing groups and cannot wait to see how they use it to benefit their local community.

“I would like to urge all of our members to get in touch and put forward a community cause close to their heart for the Community Dividend Fund scheme during the coming 12 months.”

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


  • 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.”

  • Charnwood 2020 (Loughborough) - £1,000 – to help support special community groups for girls in two struggling areas

  • Feed the Need (Coalville) - £1,000 – to help buy food, toiletries and cleaning materials for those who have fallen into poverty due to the pandemic

    • Felicity Middleton said: “Feed the Need Coalville are delighted and very grateful to have been awarded £1,000 towards the cost of food parcels for vulnerable families in our community. The Coronavirus pandemic means that more and more people are struggling to put food on the table so this will make a real difference to them.”

  • Chroma Church - £1,000 – to help pay for food and toiletries

    • Ruth Hollington said: “Chroma Church Food Bank is delighted to receive £1,000 from Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund. This generous donation has enabled us to continue to offer, the essential food and hygiene products our clients require.”

  • Braunstone Community Life Food Bank - £1,000 – to help pay for food supplies and sanitary items

  • Quorn Village CIC - £1,000 – to help for activities for 250 young people who do not belong to organised groups or sports clubs

    • Carolyn Skilling, Secretary, said: “The Quorn Community Interest Company exists to meet needs identified by the community. We plan a festival to mark the end of the Covid-19 pandemic; to raise spirits of all age groups. The event will assist voluntary groups to come together and enable everyone to celebrate at a traditional fair. The Co-op is at the centre of the village and served us well throughout a difficult year. The grant will make a difference by promoting the fair, encouraging participation and thanking our sponsors.”

  • Live Cancer Free - £1,000 – to help for the creation of specialist food parcels for people undergoing treatment for cancer

    • Chief Executive Dr Abeer Kholghi said: “The fund will be used to provide food parcels for cancer patients in Leicester and Leicestershire. It means a lot to us to receive the funding and to be able to support cancer patients during this tough time.”

  • ADAPT Prembabies - £500 – to help supply items for special packs delivered to every new mum on Leicester’s Neonatal units

    • Sue Williams said: “Like all small charities the last year has been a real struggle for us especially as we are completely self-funded and all our fundraising activities and events have had to be cancelled. The grant will go towards us being able to continue giving ADAPT Baby Packs to new mums on the Leicester neonatal units. Most of the mums on the units have had their babies early without any warning so these baby packs give them an emergency supply of nappies, cotton wool, water wipes and other essential items to help them over the first 48 hours of having a premature baby and saves them from having to rush out to the shops for supplies. We really are very grateful to Central England Co-operative’s Community Fund and thank everyone involved for their kindness and support.”

  • Shepshed Toy Library - £100 – to help continue its vital community work

    • Catherine Tideswell, toy library manager, said: “It costs at least £15,000 just to run our organisation alone each year. Most of our costs are primarily used for running costs. However, we will find the Co-op's donation useful to purchase household items such as hand sanitiser, stationery, snacks and drinks for when we open up the stay and play sessions.”

  • Shepshed Volunteer Centre - £1,800 – to fix its roof so it’s ready post-lockdown to offer services to adults with additional needs

    • Candi Barnes said: “This Central England Co-op funding will provide essential repairs to our activity shed in the Shepshed Well-Being Garden. This gives us back a Covid-19 secure space to provide much needed support and activities to individuals and groups in Shepshed.”

  • 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. 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.”

  • Croft Good Neighbours - £1,000 – to continue work to support local families with food boxes

    • Kath Muir, chair of Croft Good Neighbours, said: “Once again, the Central England Co-operative Community Dividend Fund has come to our rescue with funding for our food and essentials boxes. We are a small voluntary group and although our volunteers and our local community generously donate towards our boxes, we still need funding to keep this project going - as we have now been doing for almost a year. This generous allocation of vouchers, to spend in the local Co-op, will support our project, meaning we can continue to help families in our village.”

  • Leicester Hospitals Charity - £2,370 – to fund iPads for young people to use while receiving treatment

    • Louise Jones, Head of Philanthropy, Leicester Hospitals Charity, said: “We would like to thank the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund for this generous grant that will allow us to purchase five iPads for our young patients to use while they are in hospital. This grant will mean that children can connect with family and friends during their stay, but it will also allow children to access online therapy sessions to explain their condition and help to aid their recovery.”

  • Leicester Community Sponsorship Group - £2,000 – funding to sponsor to help refugee families settle in Leicester

    • Sarah Bradley said: “The Leicester Community Sponsorship Group are raising money to welcome and support a refugee family moving to Leicester. The generous grant from the Community Dividend Fund will be used to help settle the family in their first weeks and months in the UK, for example in providing food and clothing, and accessing interpreters if necessary.”

  • St Matthews Big Local - £2,700 – to help renovate its well-used community hub

  • Claybrooke Joint Burial Board - £850 – to build a bridge as part of a planned extension

  • Evington Hilltop Allotments - £2,700 – to allow for the use of solar power to power on-site cabins

  • Whetstone Co-operative Cinema - £1,070 – to invest in better quality to improve screenings for the local community

  • Whetstone Junior Vixens Under 8 Girls - £750 – to pay for new kit and training equipment

  • Think FC - £2,880 – to help fund an eight-week workshop to make business tools and skills more accessible to all

  • Merrydale Infant School, Claydon Road, Leicester - £500 – food items to help teach youngsters about healthy eating

  • Elohim Christian Church, Nuneaton - £500 – to help feed families who might otherwise might not have access to food

    • Pastor Faye Clarke said: “We are overjoyed at receiving a grant from the Community Dividend Fund in order for us to provide food hampers for local families in need throughout the school holidays. To be able to partner with the Central England Co-op to help feed families is a real privilege; together we can make a difference.”

  • Harborough Eco Village - £1,100 – to help fund a cooking project for local people

  • The Bodie Hodges Foundation - £1,260 – to help pay for staff and materials to encourage memory making and helping to explore grief with bereaved young children

  • Chroma Church, Leicester - £500 – to help pay for food and toiletries to create packages for people in the community

    • Ruth Hollington said: “Chroma Church Food Bank are delighted to receive £500 from the Community Dividend Fund, this generous donation has enabled us to continue to offer food bank services and provide the essential food and hygiene products our clients require; we are so incredibly thankful for the assistance.”

  • Cosby United Youth and Juniors Football Club - £750 – to help pay for a set of new team kits

    • Richard Woolerton said: “The award will be used to buy some of our junior teams much needed new kit for the new season ahead. It will also mean there will be no burden on the parents to purchase the kit and they can hold on to their hard earned pennies. The players, managers, coaches and parents at Cosby United Youth and Juniors FC would like to say a massive thank you to Central England Co-op for the generosity they have shown in choosing us for some funding.”

  • Fosse Mutual aid - £500 – to help pay for food and toiletries to create packages for people in the 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.”


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