Community groups gain cash from community fund

Three Ayrshire groups have, between them, been awarded more than £4,500 from The Co-operative’s Community Fund.

The New Life Christian Fellowship has been awarded £2,000 for its debt counselling service; Dalmellington’s Zone Youth Committee has been granted £1,814 for the development of an allotment; and the group South Ayrshire Escape from Homelessness has been given £768 for new software.

The Community Fund, first established 15 years ago, is created by members of The Co-operative Group who elect to donate all, or part, of their twice-yearly dividend payments directly to the scheme. The funds are then shared with local community projects and groups across the country.

Co-operative members receive a payment twice a year based on the points they earn when they trade at any of the Group’s businesses, including The Co-operative Food, Travel, Pharmacy and Funeralcare, as well as The Co-operative Bank, Smile and The Co-operative Insurance.

Liz Armstrong, The Co-operative’s Membership Officer for South West Scotland, said: “Because our members own the business, they get a share in any of the profits we make. It’s a scheme we’re very proud of, not only because it gives us the chance to thank members for shopping with us, but because so many people choose to give something back to local communities.

“There is over £300,000 available in Scotland each year from the Community Fund, and we welcome applications from local groups and projects for £100 to £2,000.”

Community Fund application forms are available online at www.co-operative.coop/communityfund or by phoning 0844 262 4001. Awards are allocated by local Co-operative members’ committees, based on a set of values and principles such as social responsibility and caring for others.