Community groups set to share £1.5M as Co-op picnic range packs a funding boost to help fight hunger

26 October 2020

Community groups across the UK working to help fight hunger and tackle the challenges caused by coronavirus are to receive a slice of a £1.5M* funding boost raised through sales of Co-op’s summer picnic range.

Foodbanks, volunteer centres, food delivery services and, outreach services for those at risk of isolation are among local organisations urged to apply to receive a much-needed cash boost to help them continue their vital work during this unprecedented time.

The emergency funding is now being distributed by 46 Community Foundations across the UK, who will award grants to local organisations with applications opening today (Monday, 23 October).

The retailer pledged to donate 20p from sales of its three-for-two picnic offer to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) in order to fund grassroots projects across the country which provide access to food and promote well-being in communities.

Rebecca Birkbeck, director of community and shared value at the Co-op, said: “It’s heart-breaking to think of families and children in the UK going hungry and facing such acute challenges during this unprecedented time. The need faced by many families is only growing and we continue to do all we can to support the most vulnerable to gain access to the food they need. Our co-operation with NET and UK Community Foundations means this funding can quickly go to work. Focusing on what really matters in local communities and providing direct support to those who most need it to make a difference to their health and wellbeing.”

Mhairi Sharp, interim CEO at National Emergencies Trust, commented: "With the pandemic continuing to pose significant challenges to families and individuals across the UK, we're delighted that an impressive £1.5million has been raised and will be distributed across grassroots organisations during the winter months. The National Emergencies Trust was set up to collaborate with charities, corporates and the public to raise and distribute money as efficiently as possible and our partnership with Co-op and the UK Community Foundations reflects what can be achieved by a truly collaborative effort."

Rosemary Macdonald, CEO at UK Community Foundations, said: “Pre-existing food poverty has really been compounded by the pandemic and we’ve seen huge demand for the services of local charities and community organisations that can provide relief to people struggling to access food. As we enter the winter months this situation will get worse for many. Using the expert local knowledge of our network of community foundations we will ensure that the money raised by our partners will go the local organisations best placed to support the people and communities affected by food poverty.”

This month, Co-op also pledged to provide vouchers during October half term for over 6,000 eligible students in its 25 Academies across the North of England. In addition, it has also raised funds and donated stock to provide over five million meals for the food charity Fare Share, which provides essentials to over 4,000 community food banks across the country.

Local organisations are urged to apply to the Community Foundations for funding before Friday, 13, November.

Grants are typically of sums between £2,000-£10,000, for more information about how to apply** and the Community Foundations currently accepting applications, visit:


*Total amount raised by Co-op and being distributed by Community Foundations across the UK is £1,539,765.54

**How to apply: Visit the website of your local community foundation for information on how to apply. Community foundations that will be accepting applications are:
• Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation
• Berkshire Community Foundation
• Cambridgeshire Community Foundation
• Community Foundation for Lancashire
• Community Foundation for Merseyside
• Community Foundation for Northern Ireland
• Community Foundation for Staffordshire
• Community Foundation for Surrey
• Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
• Community Foundation Wales
• County Durham Community Foundation
• Devon Community Foundation
• East End Community Foundation (Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and City of London)
• Essex Community Foundation – opening on Tuesday 27th October
• Forever Manchester (Distributing Partner of the NET Coronavirus Appeal Programme)
• Foundation Derbyshire
• Foundation Scotland
• Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Community Foundation – opening on Wednesday 28th of October
• Heart of England Community Foundation (covers Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull, Birmingham & The Black Country)
• Hertfordshire Community Foundation
• Kent Community Foundation
• Leeds Community Foundation (includes Bradford)
• Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation
• Lincolnshire Community Foundation
• London Community Foundation
• Norfolk Community Foundation
• Northamptonshire Community Foundation
• Nottinghamshire Community Foundation
• Quartet Community Foundation (Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)
• South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation
• Sussex Community Foundation
• Two Ridings Community Foundation (North & East Yorkshire, York & Hull)

Further information:
Andrew Torr
Co-op Press Office
M: 07702505551