Co-op launches £2.1m scheme to help community projects

The East of England Co-op's new scheme will help good causes in East Anglia Picture: ARCHANT

The East of England Co-op's new scheme will help good causes in East Anglia Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The East of England Co-op has launched a new project which will see its members donate millions of pounds to projects throughout East Anglia.

The Community Cares Fund will the Co-op’s members be encouraged to pay their share of the company’s profits, which are paid in the form of a dividend, to good causes in the region.

This year, the total dividend to be shared amongst 140,000 eligible members is £2.1million – around 40% of the Co-op’s profits in the last financial year.

Niall O’Keeffe, joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op, said the company was looking to help out as many of the region’s residents struggle through the coronavirus crisis.

He said: “The coronavirus outbreak is the most significant challenge that we’ve faced for a generation.

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“Our Co-op was founded over 150 years ago to provide good, honest, affordable food for the masses.

“Having supported our communities through two World Wars, our members and colleagues have always shown great resilience and kindness throughout our history, as they are in the current crisis.

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“As a co-operative we have a unique model where our members own our co-op and are rewarded with a dividend based on their participation in our success.

“We have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from our members for keeping the region fed and cared for during the crisis.

“We are giving our members the chance to give a little back to our community as we come together to fight this enemy.”

To kickstart the scheme, the East of England Co-op have pledged £150,000 to vital community projects.

The company donated £75,000 earlier this month to East Anglian foodbanks, Age UK and the Community Foundations for Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

The Co-op have said they will be working with a range of partners to distribute the funds from the Community Cares Fund to those in need.

Mr O’Keeffe added: “This is a significant package of investment which will help support our communities and say thank you to our remarkable colleagues for their exceptional hard work during the crisis.

“Everyone in our co-op has been affected by the changes wrought by coronavirus.

“From an unprecedented level of demand for supplies and services, to adapting to working remotely our colleagues have reacted quickly, professionally and with real stoicism.”

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