136 groups share over £170,000 in 2021 thanks to our Community Dividend Fund

136 groups share over £170,000 in 2021 thanks to our 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.

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 https://www.centralengland.coop/community/

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


· Bus Park Community Hub and Café (Swadlincote) - £2,500 – to continue its meals on wheels service to help 55 vulnerable and elderly people in Swadlincote and the surrounding area

· Revive Healthy Living, in Derwent - £1,500 – to pay for vital food and essentials for local people in need

· Scropton Riding for the Disabled - £1,000 – to help pay for specialist training to continue its work support disabled youngsters

o Glynis Dalley, Trustee, said: “Support from the Central England Co-op Community Fund has helped Scropton Riding for the Disabled take another step on its road to re-opening. After a very tough year due to Covid-19 we are finally making plans to re-open so news of a grant of £1,000 was just what we needed to hear. The money is going to help us set up new ground-based activities with horses that will help mental health and well-being; something needed now more than ever. It's great to have support from the local community like this. We were nominated for this support by a shopper at the local store in Hatton, where staff and visitors from our centre are regular customers. Huge thanks and neighs to everyone at the Co-op for your help; we know it’s going to help make a very real difference to a lot of lives.”

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

o   Steph Gaunt, from the group, said: “We are so thankful to be awarded this Community Dividend Fund award! We provide vital mental health and wellbeing 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.”

· Chellaston Residents’ Association - £870 – to pay for new waste bins to keep the area tidy

· Freedom Leisure (Ashbourne) - £1,000 – to pay for a specialist hoist to allow disabled people to swim

o Melanie Flude said: “The funding we have been awarded will help pay towards the costs of a new pool hoist for our swimming pool at Ashbourne Leisure Centre. Our previous hoist had to be de-commissioned due to its age, which meant those with limited mobility and disability haven’t been able to use our pool. Being awarded our grant means we can now start the process of getting suppliers into the centre to assess the location of where the hoist will be located and complete any initial ground works required before the hoist is replaced.”

· Release Financial Charity - £1,000 – to help the good cause continue to offer its specialist debt advice.

o   Paul Stears said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has and continues to affect our communities in many ways. Thanks to funding received from the Central England Co-op Dividend Fund, Release Community Money Advice is able to provide free, confidential and non-judgmental money/debt advice and support to people.”

· Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity - £2,000 – to help supply refurbished bikes for refugees and asylum seekers

· Marie Curie - £200 – to provide support for its specialist line available to those dealing with terminal illness

· Evergreen Collective - £755 – to buy equipment to allow for people to play rounders in the local community

o Mishba Khan said: “Evergreen is delighted with the financial support being provided by the Community Dividend Fund grant. We are excited to develop our Rounders club for women and children which aims to improve the physical and mental wellbeing for the local community. The grant will allow us to purchase bibs for the players, a new rounders kit and a first aid kit, which everyone at the Evergreen Rounders Club is very excited about.”

· Littleover Dazzlers Football Club - £750 – to help pay for a set of new team kits


· Ditchingham Men’s Shed (Bungay) - £2,000 – to help with the creation of a men’s shed, a community space for local people to meet, work and socialise after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted

o   Teresa Davies, from the group, said: “This grant will allow the shed to connect its electricity supply. This will enable us to connect all our machinery and lighting and diversify into other activities. The shed is not all about woodwork. We are in quite a rural area so want to combat social isolation, particularly in men as they do not cope as well as women following a bereavement or retirement. We do allow ladies as well - everyone is welcome.”

· Fressingfield Primary School, in Eye - £250 – to help with the creation of a summer garden

· Halesworth and District Swimming Club - £200 – for swim caps and bags to help youngsters taking part


· Feed the Need Coalville - £5,000 – to help support the new food bank to ensure its premises are safe, warm and Covid-19 secure

o 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

o   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

o 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

o 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

o 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

o   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

o   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

o 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

o 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

o   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

o   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

o   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

o   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

o   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

o 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

o 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

o   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.”

West Midlands

· St Anne’s Church (Burntwood) - £2,098 – to help with the creation of a community garden

o   A spokesperson for the church said: “We are delighted to have been granted these funds from Central England Co-operative’s Community Dividend Fund to help with our new Community Garden Project at St Anne’s Church in Chasetown. With the funds we will be able to buy essential tools, seeds, plants and a greenhouse and it will also help to get our outdoor drop in café going too. We hope that the garden and outdoor drop in café will be a place (when restrictions are lifted) where people will feel safe and welcome and also talk through worries and anxieties which many of us have as we emerge from Covid-19 restrictions. Many people have found that their emotional wellbeing has taken a real hit during the pandemic and we believe the new community gardening space at St Anne’s Church could be the first of a number of similar spaces locally, ‘greening’ our locality and helping the wellbeing of members of the community who get involved.”

· Solidarity Kitchen (Digbeth) - £2,500 – to continue providing weekly meals during the pandemic for those in need locally

· YMCA Sutton Coldfield - £4,720 – to revamp its specialist facilities ready for when it can provide vital support for disadvantaged young people post pandemic

· Deputy CEO Stephanie Patrick said: “We were so delighted to hear we had received a Central England Co-op Community Fund grant. As a small charity we need to raise all our own funds so that we can support disadvantaged and vulnerable young people and their families in Sutton Coldfield and the greater Birmingham area.

This grant will make a really big difference as it will allow us to completely fix the floor in our meeting room which has become badly damaged and broken over the years.  As a result we'll be able to use this space to run more sessions for our groups including Stepping Up for adults with learning disabilities. This is so badly needed as Covid-19 has left our members lonely, isolated and struggling with their mental health at home. “Our young carers groups, for children who care for a family member, also use the room every week and will be really excited to see the difference.”

· Northfield Community Partnership - £1,000 – to help pay for food supplies, PPE and the creation of food parcels

o   Bob Jones said: “Northfield Community Partnership (NCP) is hugely grateful to Central England Co-op for providing a grant of £1,000 towards our food bank. NCP is a charity serving some of the most vulnerable in South West Birmingham, providing a range of vital services. During lockdown, NCP has led on a range of interventions ensuring that communities and people continue to receive the support that they need. The NCP foodbank supports an average of 20 to 25 households a day, this grant will allow NCP to support an extra 300 people during these difficult times.”

· Bethany Community Outreach - £1,000 – to help pay for food, transport costs and drivers

o   Kevin Warrington said: “Thank you once again to Central England Co-op on behalf of Bethany Food Bank for the kind donation. As we are feeding over 1,000 people per week this will help us continue to keep our food bank open during these difficult times.”

· Gro Organic CIC - £1,000 – to help a project designed to install three new raised beds to help promote health and wellbeing in the local area

o   Tal Arrowsmith, Youth & Community Engagement Lead, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from Central England Co-op for our community gardening project “Dig-It”. The funding will enable us to purchase better tools and seeds for food growing. Dig-It crew members are adults with additional needs who rely on the project to broaden their social networks and improve their physical activity.”

· Warley Baptist Church - £1,500 – funding to help pay for food and essentials to help create hot meals and food parcels for families in need

o Peter Spence said: “Thank you so much Central England Co-op, the award of this grant will allow us to continue to serve hot meals to some of the most isolated and vulnerable in our community. This money will make such a difference to them."

· St Thomas Centre Nursery - £500 – funding for seeds, social and plant pots to encourage people to do more in the garden

· Headway Birmingham and Solihull- £1,497 – to help support its work during the pandemic

o   Helen Bourke, Manager for Acquired Brain Injury Services at Headway Birmingham & Solihull, said: “We can’t thank Central England Co-op enough for awarding us this grant. It means we can buy a new interactive whiteboard, something that we cannot easily fund ourselves right now even though we know how much of a difference it will make. We’ll use it to help us deliver a range of online sessions to our clients while our brain injury centres are closed during Covid, and then afterwards to bring technology to the classroom, encouraging greater interaction and more creative session delivery.”

· I Love Dudley - £1,000 – to help with work to support distributing food to people in need

· New Heights Warren Farm Community Project, in Kingstanding - £1,000 – to support the work of its community café

o   Trustee John McGorman said: “We are delighted to receive a Community Dividend Fund grant of £1,000 from Central England Co-operative. We will now be able to create covered outdoor seating directly outside New Heights Community Café. From July we will be able to use this sheltered outdoor space to re-launch group activities for older and disabled people, a number of whom report remaining anxious about returning to indoor group settings. We will begin by organising free community meals in the new covered patio area and gradually reinstate indoor group activities as beneficiaries become more confident. Use of this new outdoor meeting area will be a significant stepping stone to helping them to adapt to the ‘new normal’ following on from having to shield in their homes during Covid-19lockdowns. It will also remain an excellent additional facility going forward.”

· Lichfield Talking News for the Blind - £1,000 –to help pay for specialist equipment such as alarms to keep blind people safe in their homes

· Curborough Community Centre Gardening Club, Lichfield - £350 – supplies to encourage people to garden together to improve the environment

o   Cathy Wood said: “We are thrilled to be awarded a grant by the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund. It will enable us to replace our old mower and will save us significant time and energy which we can devote to maintaining the plot, preparing for autumn/winter and planning for next year. We also plan to buy seed so that we can continue developing our wildflower project to encourage pollinators for our fruit and vegetable crops.”

· Chasetown FC Under 14s - £750 – to help pay for a set of new team kits

o Matt Thomas, Team Manager, said: “I’d like to thank Central England Co-op for their community funding support. We were so excited to tell the team about our award for funding. The last couple of seasons have been really tough with the Covid-19 pandemic and life and football being put on hold. We can’t thank Co-op enough for their generous donation towards much needed training wear and equipment for the team.”

· The Hub, in Hazelwell - £500 – to help provide much needed items for one of its community rooms

o Graham Mitchell said: “The Hub is very pleased to receive a grant from Central England Co-op towards the cost of completing a planned programme of improved LED lighting including finally to its major public room. This will improve the standard of lighting and will be beneficial to all including our large number of elderly users and be more energy efficient and reduce our carbon count. This is particularly welcome at a time when the pandemic has reduced our income due mainly to a drop-in room rental income.”

· West Midlands Powerchair Regional League - £1,000 – to help hire an additional court to cope with demand and Covid-19 related restrictions

· Active Wellbeing Society - £1,000 – to help pay for a range of items to support efforts to tackle the issue of high deprivation and inequality locally

· Tamworth FC Under 16s - £750 – to help pay for a set of new team kits

· Sense Touchbase - £2,000 – the charity that supports children and adults with complex disabilities will use the funding to provide five specialist sessions for skills development and to improve their mental health and physical wellbeing

o Carl Williams, Community Fundraising Manager, said: “We are so thrilled to receive this support from Central England Co-operative. The £2,000 donation will go a long way to helping us support deafblind children in the Midlands with new, stimulating sessions and activities that will support their development and offer lots of fun along the way.”

·       Cruse Bereavement - £2,000 – to train four new volunteer supervisors

· Hope Garden (part of the Azadi Trust) - £1,500 – to support a therapeutic garden project that offers a safe space for asylum seekers and refugees

· MHA Communities - £1,500 – to fund the launch of a half day dementia friendly activity each week

· City of Birmingham Duke of Edinburgh Award Association - £1,000 – to support people aged between 14 and 25 from low income families take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award

· Bromsgrove and Redditch Network Community House - £250 – to help fund the volunteer centre pay for Covid-19 related costs such as PPE

· Bethany Community Outreach - £500 – to help run a food bank to support local people.

o   Kevin Warrington said: “On behalf of Bethany Food Bank we would like to say thank you to Central England Co-op. As we have received some funding this will help us to continue to support the many people who use our foodbank. The numbers keep on going up and we are now feeding nearly 1,500 people per week and the support we have received from Central England Co-op is very much appreciated.”

· Coton Green Evangelical Free Church Trust - £2,000 – funding to support a wide range of projects that benefit the local community

· Cherishers - £1,000– this not-for-profit company will use the funding to run a lunch club for the elderly for the next six months

· Streethay Primary School - £940 – to help develop a garden and forest school

· 6thLichfield Scouts - £1,000 – to improve their Scout hut

o   Charles Trivett said: “In September this year the Scout association set up a new section to cater for four and five year olds. These are known as Squirrel Scouts. Because the section is so new and the needs of the children are different from older members of the Scout movement, there has been a lot of investment to prepare our headquarters for Squirrels. This grant has enabled us to complete a full health and safety check for Squirrels, provide a proper storage cupboard to store all their fun activity materials and get suitable storage boxes for all the craft equipment.”

· Dudley for the love of scrubs - £1,175 – to pay for a range of materials to create vital items for people in need from NHS staff to victims of abuse

o Lisa Maidment, founder and leader, said: “It is an exciting time for us, as we have taken the step to become a fully-fledged charity. The generous funding supplied to us by Central England Co-op will allow us to furnish our first premises with equipment we need to enable us to continue to provide our community with the handmade-with-love items we are becoming well-known for.”


· The Katherine Allport Foundation – £2,000 – to fund the creation of 20 care hampers filled with essentials for those who are starting cancer treatment

o   Scott Allport said: “We are delighted that The Katherine Allport Foundation has received a generous donation of £2,000 from Central England Coop.

“It has enabled us to keep saying ‘yes’ when we receive a request to provide a free chemotherapy hamper to someone starting cancer treatment.

“Charities such as ours are relying on generous donations from organisations such as Central England Co-op and we are thankful that time and time again, they step up and support the local community.”


· The Myton Hospices - £2,500 – to help pay for visits by nurses or nurses assistants to provide end of life care for patients in their homes

o   Director of Income Generation and Supporter Engagement Charlotte Ingram: “We are delighted to have received a grant for £2,500 from Central England Co-operative’s Community Dividend Fund. The money will be used to fund 25 visits from our Myton at Home team so that patients and families can get the support they need in their own home. During the global pandemic we have seen more people preferring to receive end of life care at home so this money will make a real difference at a time when it is needed most.”

· Fill the Gap (Rugby) - £1,000 – to help for food supplies for low income families

o   A spokesperson said: “We are so grateful for the Community Dividend Fund grant received from Central England Co-operative. This means we can feed families in Rugby that have fallen through the gap of government funding. We may even use the vouchers for Easter Eggs if there is any money left over! These little gestures are so important for our families especially the children who deserve them, we have all been through a tough 12 months but the devastation it has left some families in is unthinkable. We are here to take a little bit of the burden. If the families have to choose between paying bills or food then we are the service for them. Our vision for the future is educational for adults and the children.”

· Time Out Support Services, in Atherstone - £1,500 – to pay for a range of services to help older people and those suffering from isolation including paying for clothing, food and companionship calls

o   Julie Goodman said: “Time Out would like to say a massive thank you to the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund for our recent grant. We will use this funding to continue our community food scheme for residents in Baddesley Ensor and Grendon. This scheme consists of delivery of a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables and other essential items free of charge to vulnerable residents. This grant will make a really positive difference to people living in our rural communities. The scheme has been a huge success so far and provides valuable contact for each person receiving a bag as we offer delivery and it also supports both their physical and mental wellbeing.”

· Warwickshire Social Inclusions Partnership, in Nuneaton - £500 – to help renovate its premises so it can provide vital support for people with mental health problems


· Outdoor Tribe (Desborough) - £1,440 – to help pay for mindfulness and nature activities

· North Northants First Responders - £500 – to help pay for supporting the group and its work assisting East Midlands Ambulance Service during these uncertain times

o   A spokesperson said: “North Northants Community First Responders (NNCFR) are delighted to have been chosen as a recipient of the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund. As a not-for-profit organisation, staffed by a team of volunteers, we are trained by, and provide an emergency response to the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), whereby we are dispatched to patients following a 999 call, in order to stabilise and provide initial life-saving treatment prior to the ambulance arriving. The grant awarded will allow us to purchase an additional life-saving kit for one of our responders, where they are currently having to share the limited number of kits that we have. This kit will allow us to have an additional volunteer to be ‘on call’ to provide our community with this vital service.”

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

o   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.”

· Northampton Hope Centre - £1,000 – to provide dedicated support for people in living in poverty

· Kids Aid Foundation - £2,000 – to provide funding for specialist sessions for young people who have suffered some form of trauma

o   Case worker Becca Caswell-Fox said: “Kids Aid are absolutely delighted to receive £2,000 from the Community Dividend Fund! Since the Covid-19 pandemic, our small charity has been in receipt of an unprecedented number of referrals from families seeking support - children appear to be struggling with trauma and mental health difficulties more than ever before. This funding helps us to make a positive difference to local families during a very difficult time.”

· The Lewis Foundation - £2,500 – to provide gifts and support to adults undergoing cancer treatment in hospitals and the community

o Lorraine Lewis said: “Adults are having to go through cancer treatment alone during this challenging period of social distancing and that’s why it’s more important than ever for us to continue to deliver our free gifts and support packs to patients in hospitals and the community. We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Community Dividend Fund for helping us to make a difference in the community. It has been a very difficult period for people in hospital, not being able to be supported by their family and friends. Helping us to provide a gift, helps to support people from a distance and let them know they are not alone. The items may be simple but, when in hospital, they make a huge difference to brighten people’s day.”

· Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council - £500 – to provide support to those who have faced discrimination in the local community

o Anjona Roy said: “We are all thrilled to receive the Community Dividend Fund grant from Central England Co-operative. We will be using the funds to undertake safeguarding training and DBS checks with our staff and volunteers. It's a real vote of confidence to have the resources from Co-op members to help us make sure that we work in a way that looks out for the welfare and wellbeing of service users, staff and volunteers.”

· Marie Curie - £200 – to provide support for its specialist line available to those dealing with terminal illness

· Marie Curie Stamford - £200 – to provide support for its specialist line available to those dealing with terminal illness

· Back to Books - £1,000 – the not-for-profit organisation will use the funding to install a new greenhouse to support its health and wellbeing projects

o Carole Miles and Maureen Walvin said: “Back to Books would like to thank Central England Co-op for the £1,000 Community Dividend Fund Award made towards our next project. All of our members have seen their gardens / growing spaces as a sanctuary during the pandemic. We posted out seeds we had collected or been gifted whilst we were unable to meet and communicated through Zoom, email or by phone. Going forward into the new year we want to create opportunities for small, Covid safe groups to meet and grow flowers and produce with our help. We have access to a safe outdoor space and a small dilapidated greenhouse. We want to grow flowers and veg plugs in the new greenhouse and share them with the local community, creating small gardens, wild flower areas or planters in memory of those we have lost to support and bring joy to those who are struggling. The new greenhouse which this award will enable us to buy will be our starting point for a year of growing, wellbeing and creativity.”


· Community Cans Can Help (Stapenhill) - £500 – to help for food and vital essentials

· Burton and District Mind - £3,000 – to help support a planned mindfulness roadshow

o   Ken Lawrence said: “Burton and District Mind, the mental health charity, provide quality services across East Staffordshire, Lichfield District and Tamworth Borough. We are very thankful for the generous grant from the Central England Co-operative Community Dividend Fund. The grant enables us to provide a Mindfulness Roadshow to community groups across our service area who have been most affected by the pandemic.”


· I Love Dudley - £1,000 – to help buy food, toiletries and washing items for local people in need

o A spokesperson said: “On behalf of the I Love Dudley trustees I would like to say thank you for the generous grant of £1,000. Since April 2020, our charity has been delivering food parcels and emergency supplies to residents in and around Dudley. The generous £1,000 grant will go towards the purchase of food and essential supplies for individuals and families in need."


· Norwich Homeless Support - £1,500 – to help buy food for the creation of food parcels that will support local homeless people

o Eric Hewson said: “Thank you to Central England Co-operative for the donation. This will make a massive difference to those who we help from the homeless community on our weekly lunch feeds to those we help with food parcels across Norwich, particularly the rural areas where a food bank does not run.”

· Silver Parcels Food Bank - £1,000 – to help pay for food and shelving

o   Manager Julie Brociek-Coulton said: “We are so grateful to the Community Dividend Fund because we were in desperate need of shelves to store food which has been bought and donated to us, so the £500 will be great for that and the £500 vouchers will help us to keep our food bank stocked for our residents who need our help, maybe not every week, but are so glad we are there to support them.”

· Wells Community Hospital Trust - £2,000 – to help with the creation and launch of support groups for local people

o   Simon Prince, Income Generation & Deputy General Manager, said: “Having the opportunity to provide a placement for a social work student has enabled us to build on the support we give to our community. This grant will help the organisation to set up much needed support services for all aspects of the community in a truly inclusive way. In the long run it will also mean that we can continue to offer placement positions to students, by suppling the relevant support for their learning.”

· Kirkley Pantry, Lowestoft - £690 – to pay for new shelving to accommodate rise in demand of people in need of support getting out of food poverty

o Churchwarden Lorraine Light said: “It will make such a difference to be able to display the fresh food in an attractive and easy to access way. We hope this new display will inspire our members to create healthy, nutritious and tasty meals at home.”

· NCT West Norfolk Branch Clothes Bank, King’s Lynn - £500 – to pay for equipment, toys and toiletries to help local parents in need

· Field of Joy, Reepham - £1,625 – to help pay for the development of a garden area for use by vulnerable and disadvantaged adults

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

o   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.”

· St Peter and St John Church (Kirkley) - £1,500 – to pay for various equipment to support efforts to tackle food poverty

o   Lorraine Light said: “The funds from Co-op Community Dividend Fund will be used to purchase equipment including café tables and chairs so we can open a Community Café in Kirkley, Lowestoft. The Covid-19 lockdowns resulted in feelings of social isolation with loss of confidence and the community asked if the church could open a safe, welcoming space for people to meet friends and enjoy an affordable coffee/tea and bite to eat. As a result of this funding, this can now happen and help rebuild confidence, and improve mental health.”

· Norwich Door to Door - £3,200 – to cover the cost of training for those involved with running a specialist minibus service for disabled and elderly people

o CEO Ian Elliott said: “The grant from Central England Co-operative’s Community Dividend Fund will help us recruit and train more volunteers and enable us to make an even bigger difference in our community by helping people without access to transport to engage and make a contribution.”

· Field of Joy - £1,000 – to allow the care farm to run a free weekly wellbeing day for vulnerable local adults

o Caitlin Howells said: “The grant will enable us at Field Of Joy to offer our local community a free wellbeing in nature course, consisting of a weekly mindfulness in nature session, followed by tea and biscuits around the campfire and a gentle volunteering wellbeing session where people can choose to garden and grow food, plant and tend our wildflower meadows and help care for large and small animals including goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, guinea pigs and chickens. These sessions will help to reduce isolation and forge new friendships and connections with each other and the natural world, as well as help to improve physical and mental wellbeing in an inclusive, friendly, peaceful space.”

· Sunbeams Play - £2,190 – to fund a multi-sensory suitcase to help youngsters with autism

o   Sarah Southernwood said: “Sunbeams is absolutely thrilled to be receiving a grant from Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund which will enable us to purchase a fully equipped ‘Sensory Suitcase’. The sensory suitcase will be an invaluable tool for our team to work with and for our members to explore.”

· Aylsham Community Gym - £1,000 – to support the launch of low impact classes

o   Annette Marsh said: “Aylsham Community Gym is so thankful for this award, hoping to bring together those who have become isolated for whatever reason. Belonging to a community of familiar faces through a group exercise class followed by a drink and a chat with fellow class goers.”

· Bungay in Bloom - £750 – to aid the refurbishment of a communal garden

o   Didy Ward said: “Bungay in Bloom was thrilled to be awarded the Community Dividend Fund as it means we can now embark on a project that we have been wanting to work on for a few years. There is a strip of land between the car park and the small community garden we manage which is overgrown and in great need of some care and attention. We plan, with our team of trusty volunteers, to dig it over and plant it with a mixture of small shrubs, perennials and bulbs with something of interest for all seasons. We will improve the soil with organic matter to give the plants a good start and we will choose plants that are wildlife friendly. This long border will be an attractive and welcoming sight for visitors to our town, softening the barrenness of the car park and will also encourage residents to rest a while in the adjacent community garden.”

· West Norfolk Ride for the Disabled - £3,700 – to help pay for 200 sessions across the next 12 months for disabled youngsters

· Norwich Cruse Bereavement Care - £1,000 – to fund training courses for bereavement support staff

· Scrapbox, in Reepham - £650 – to pay for a new computer and printer to support work to reclaim resources destined for landfill, process them and sell them to local community organisations

o   Tula Chenery, Manager, said: “Scrapbox is thrilled to receive a Central England Co-operative Community Dividend Fund award, which will be put towards the purchase of new IT equipment to replace our ancient and very slow PC and temperamental printer. As a non-funded, dedicated “reclaimed resources” charity, we rely on our sales and memberships to keep us running so we can help local businesses by reclaiming much of their usable waste (which would otherwise go to landfill), and providing these reclaimed resources to our local community organisations, educational establishments and individuals for art and crafting purposes. Up-to-date IT equipment will be a fantastic asset for us! It will mean our administration tasks can be achieved so much quicker and more efficiently and we can take a laptop into our shop to input membership details directly into a database, which will save time and so much paper.”

· Silver Road Community Centre, Norwich - £500 – to support its ongoing work in the community

o Julie Brociek-Coulton, Manager of Silver Road Community Centre, said: “The Silver Road Community Centre want to thank Central England Co-op for their generous donation of £500 which will go towards us buying items for our Christmas hampers. These will be for people who use our food bank but also residents we know that need an extra something special at Christmas.”


· Luv2MeetU (Sheffield and Derbyshire) - £500 – to help continue to develop a friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism

o Karen England, Luv2meetU Manager, said: “We’re so grateful to have been awarded a £500 grant by Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund. In the last year, life has changed immeasurably for people with learning disabilities and autism, with many feeling lonely and isolated as a result. It’s been so rewarding to transform our programme of community-based events and activities into a virtual calendar, which has enabled our members to stay connected, make friends and socialise at a time when social interaction is needed more than ever. Thanks to this generous grant, we’re looking forward to adapting our Sheffield offering to deliver even more activities each week to our 60 local members, alongside other forms of support including telephone check-ins and the provision of accessible resources.”

· Streetbikes, in Huddersfield - £500 – to support the charity which provides upcycled bikes

o   Clare Taylor said: “Many thanks from Streetbikes for the generous donation from the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund. We will use the money to help maintain one of our many adapted bikes at our mixed ability cycling sessions that are available to all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Post lockdown it is vital to be able to provide activities that will improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing.”

· The Welcome Centre, Huddersfield - £500 – to pay for food to help create vital food parcels

· Eden’s Forest, Holmfirth - £1,000 – materials to adults and young people struggling with their mental health and wellbeing

o A spokesperson said: “We’re really very grateful for the award and are planning on using it towards providing the resources required to construct our outdoor kitchen. We already have a regular volunteer group and work with The Prince’s Trust in providing work experience opportunities and it’s these two groups that will help and learn how to construct the site. As a social enterprise based in a large woodland we’re supporting the wellbeing of adults, children and families and an outdoor kitchen will go a significant way in providing a level of comfort and a facility to develop outdoor cooking skills.”

· New Hope Community Church - £2,500 – to support the salary of a domestic violence support worker

· Friends of Cinderhills Park, in Holmfirth - £1,800 – to provide workshops for local people and the development of a community garden

o Karen Lloyd, Friends of Cinderhills Park group, said: “The funding will be used to help set up and maintain a community garden in our local park. We are excited to start planting raised beds with fruit and vegetables. There will be three workshops with Eden's Forest for planting and maintenance. After such a long period of time, where we have all had to be shut up indoors, it will be so lovely to create a space for all to enjoy and get to know each other.”

· Full Life Church, in Holmfirth - £1,000 – to provide vital funds to allow for its food bank to continue to support people locally

· Grow to School CIC, Huddersfield - £1,000 – to help deliver sessions for youngsters to learn how to grow fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs

· New Hope Community Church, Sheffield - £2,000 – to pay the salary of a domestic support worker for the next six months


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

· Vamos Theatre - £2,500 – supporting the ‘Joy in a box’ scheme aimed at people who are frail, live with dementia or learning disabilities

o Hazel Ratcliffe said: “Funding from the Co-op Community Dividend Fund will support our activity advent calendar for people living with dementia or other forms of sensory impairment/learning disabilities. With an activity or sensory game for every day, the project aims to aid creative play and ideas for interactive and communal events in residential settings and day settings aiding resident and staff wellbeing. We are thrilled to receive funding to allow us to spread a bit of Christmas joy at care settings within the Central England Co-op regions in December 2021.”

· The Precious Trust - £2,500 – to support a new empowerment project to support vulnerable girls and young women locally and in Birmingham

o Jess Pritchard said: “We are so pleased to have been awarded £2,500 through the Co-op Community Dividend Fund. This support means so much to The Precious Trust and the girls and young women we support. This grant will help us launch our new empowerment project that aims to support the mental health and wellbeing of girls and young women who have been subjected to exploitation in Birmingham.”

· Three Counties Holistic Healthcare - £1,050 – to support with health, wellbeing and therapy courses

o   Susan Barley said: “We are Three Counties Holistic Healthcare – a small independent charity based in Worcester. We have been running since 2007 and our purpose is to provide wellbeing courses and holistic/complementary therapy free (or by small donation) to people in Worcester on a low income, who otherwise would not be able to access this type of service. Finding funding has been a challenge since the Covid-19 pandemic and we are very pleased that Central England Co-op has awarded us funds for this service that has already helped many people on the road to health and personal wellbeing.”


· 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

· Wild Things Ecological Education Collective - £1,450 – to support woodland based programmes for children and young people who face severe disadvantages in life

o A spokesperson said: “Wild Things would like to say a massive thankyou to the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund. This grant will enable us to offer extra support to children from a primary school in Bulwell, Nottingham, through delivery of our high-impacting Forest School nurture programme. The children who participate will be chosen by their schools due to being particularly vulnerable because of their experience of the pandemic and its on-going impact on their emotional, social, physical and educational wellbeing. Wild Things has a critical role to play to support the recovery of those who have been most affected by the pandemic and we’d like to thank the Community Dividend Fund in supporting our project.”

· Orchard Out of School Club - £1,211 – to help feed youngsters before and after school and to pay for equipment to get them safely to and from home such as high-viz vests

o   Andrea Simpson, manager of Orchard Extras, said: “We have always tried to shop local and use the Central England Co-op store on Chapel Street in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. The generous support in the form of vouchers for use in store will help us provide breakfast and afternoon snacks while the cash will pay for items associated with the move to our new venue - all for the benefit of local children and families.”


· Deeping Rangers Football Club - £750 – to help pay for a set of new team kits

· Cambridge Cruse Bereavement Care - £1,000 – to fund a call handling service and to train more supervisors

o Moira Upton said: “Cambridge Cruse is delighted and very grateful to the Community Dividend Fund for this funding. Now bereavement support can be offered to more people whenever or at whatever time in their life. The funds will help train more volunteer supervisors to help support bereavement support volunteers in this incredible work.”

· Grafham Water First Responder Scheme - £500 – new equipment and clothing

o Richard Winser said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received a community grant from Central England Co-op. It will be used as part of the initial sum we need to establish an Ambulance Service First Responder Scheme, that will serve the villages adjacent and around the Grafham Water area in Cambridgeshire. Once fully established, we hope the scheme will benefit five parish council areas and two GP Surgery areas in Great Staughton and Buckden. The Grafham Water Community First Response Scheme will be made up of volunteers who have been trained to attend emergency calls received by the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust and provide ‘first aid’ until an emergency ambulance arrives. We are confident that when the initiative is fully established, it will make a lifesaving difference.”

· Headway Cambridgeshire - £1,000 – to pay for a range of materials that will support those recovering from brain injuries and associated mental health problems

· Diamond Hampers CIC - £500 – to help pay for equipment to help local people in need of a little extra support

· Deeping Rangers Football Club - £750 – to pay for new kit and equipment

· Peterborough Elderly Christmas Shoebox Appeal - £500 – to create shoeboxes filled with vital essentials for those who live in sheltered accommodation and care homes.

· Social Echo North Huntingdonshire CIC - £500 – to the funding will be used to create extra storage space.

· Green Back Yard - £1,690 – to buy a range of items to help the work of the community green space

o   Kathy Shaw, Trustee for the Green Back Yard, said: “The Central England Co-op grant will help us buy equipment for volunteers to develop a local community food growing project. The equipment will assist in producing food to sell locally from our site.”

· Deafblind UK - £2,000 – to help the ongoing cost of a variety of support programmes.

o Gerry Reilly said: “Deafblind UK is enormously grateful to the Central England Co-operative who have awarded us £2,000 from their Community Dividend Fund. Those affected by dual sensory loss are marginalised and isolated, and this has been made much worse by the pandemic. This grant will allow us to provide much needed wellbeing and emotional support and where appropriate allow us to provide a telephone befriender. These services can make the world of difference to our beneficiaries.”

· Little Miracles - £1,040 – to support families with additional needs in a range of ways from food parcels to toys and clothes.

· Godmanchester Community School PTA - £600 – to help pay for new books for the pupils

o Laury De Re said: “Thanks to the Central England Co-op Community Dividend grant we will be able to offer a wider range of books to the children in the seven different year group bubbles in our school.”