15 March 2023

  • As Co-op research shows over a third (37%) of young people feel that the odds are stacked against them
  • Partnership to support 750,000 young people with their current and future needs, including helping young people and their families with basic needs like access to food, mental wellbeing support and opportunities for the future
  • Co-op aims to raise £5 million to support young people through the partnership
  • Creation of youth advisory group will ensure the partnership responds to the needs of young people today
  • Almost half (48%) of young people feel they will need to leave their hometown to achieve what they want in life, partnership to identify locations across the UK most in need of support

At a time when over a third (37%) of young people feel that the odds are stacked against them (1), Co-op is today (15 March 2023) announcing a new charity partnership to bring communities together to support young people.

Co-op will be working with Barnardo’s, the UK’s largest children’s charity, to support 750,000 young people aged 10-25 years old to help improve their mental wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem, as well as helping young people and their families to meet basic needs, including access to food, at a time when the lasting effects of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are exacerbating underlying challenges.

Co-op X Barnardo's

Co-op research shows more than a quarter (29%) of those aged 16-25, say that the rising cost of living will make it harder to get a job, whilst over a third (35%) say that these factors will negatively impact their mental wellbeing. In addition, 84% of Co-op customers agreed supporting young people is important for their community and 72% think someone they know could benefit from support (2).

Co-op aims to raise £5 million through the partnership by engaging colleagues, members and customers in a range of national and local fundraising.

The initial focus will be on fundraising, but the partnership will develop to enable the charity to deliver innovative new services in communities most at need across the UK, as identified by Co-op’s Community Wellbeing Index. In addition, an online offering will be available to ensure young people across the UK receive the support they need.

The partnership will see the creation of a youth advisory group to enable young people to co-produce activity.

Shirine Khoury-Haq, CEO at Co-op said: “Our work within communities has shown us the impact that the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis is having, most especially on young people – there has never been a more important time to support them.

“Supporting the communities we serve is in our Co-op DNA and a big part of our vision of ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’. We’re excited to be to working with Barnardo’s as the partnership builds on our ongoing activity to provide young people with access to opportunities, including through the Peer Action Collective that give young people a voice, our work supporting apprenticeships and our 30 Co-op Academy schools.”

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Lynn Perry MBE, said: “More than one in four children in the UK are living in poverty and the cost-of-living crisis will make this worse as families struggle to pay their bills. Growing up in poverty means children are at risk of going hungry, they miss out on opportunities and their mental health suffers - all of which can affect them long into adulthood.    

“We are really excited to be working in partnership with Co-op to bring about positive change for children and young people across the UK. Together, we are aiming to help young people access basic needs, like food, improve their mental wellbeing and create better opportunities for their future.”

To find out more, including how you or a young person you know can get help, visit coop.co.uk/SupportYoungPeople.


(1) ICM interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,000 young people living in the United Kingdom aged 10–25 via an online survey between 24 March and 5 April 2022. Participants aged 10–15 (and some aged 16–17) were recruited through their parents; both participants and parents gave their consent to take part in the survey. Unless otherwise stated, not all differences between demographics are statistically significant. Any differences which are labelled significant have been tested at the 95 per cent confidence level. The research was conducted in accordance with ISO 20252 and ISO 27001, the international standards for market research and information security management.

(2) Source: Compton and Dean mission research, March '22.

About Co-op: Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates over 2,500 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,000 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited. Employing almost 60,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of over £11billion and is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.

About Barnardo’s: Last year Barnardo’s provided essential support to over 357,000 children, young people, parents and carers through more than 790 services and partnerships across the UK. We provide vital support to the children and families who need us most, to help with a range of issues including mental health, child sexual abuse and children in care.
We listen to children and young people and work to bring about positive change so that they can have a brighter future. Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out more.