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Potential Sources of Funding from within The Co-operative Movement

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The Co-operative Group

The Co-operative Group Limited is the largest consumer co-operative organisation in the world. The Co-operative Group operates across numerous business fields - including retail, travel, funerals, insurance and banking, but is best known by the public for its stores, and as part of the Co-operative Movement is one of the best known retail chains in the country.

The Co-operative Group operates over 1,000 stores throughout the UK and accounts for over 25 % of co-operative retail trade. Stores range from small community stores to the large supermarkets, each forming part of a large organisation that claims to be ‘committed to high standards of service to customers and to our position on key issues.’

The Co-operative Group also claims “The Co-op is part of the community and actively contributes to the well-being of the communities it serves.”

Benefits available from Co-operatives

As co-operatives there are a number of benefit supporters’ trusts are eligible to receive or apply for. These range from discounts from co-operative services, eligibility for grant aid and also dividends from membership.

Co-op Dividend

By a supporters’ trust becoming a member of the Co-operative Group they can receive two dividend pay outs each year.

How it works

• Every time one of your members uses a co-operative retail outlet by quoting the trust’s co-operative membership number you are awarded points.

• Points are awarded according to how much is spent by members in co-operative stores. This will include individual trust members.

• Twice a year these points are converted into pounds, the amount is dependent on how much profit the Co-operative group has made.

• The Trust then has the choice of receiving the money or donating it to the Co-op Community Fund. Alternatively a proportion can be paid.

• The Co-op Community Fund provides grants to community groups including co-ops. Please see specific section for more detail.

• The payouts are not huge but every little bit helps as they say!

• Supporters’ trusts can join this scheme by phoning 0845 090 1456, alternatively go to the web address below to join online.

• It should be noted that individual co-operatives may have their own membership schemes.

Other Benefits of membership of the Co-operative Group

By becoming a member you become eligible for a range of benefits from co-operative retailers. These include from food outlets, the Co-operative Bank, insurance services, travel, pharmacy, funeral care and legal services.

For more detailed information please visit the web address below.

Co-op Funds

There are now two main ways of securing grants from co-operatives. One is directly from the Co-operative Group with the other method being from local co-operative societies that run community funds.

Co-operative Group’s Co-operative Fund

The Co-operative Fund has recently closed but it will be re-opening in April offering advice and training for co-operatives rather than grants.

Co-operative Group’s Community Fund

The fund is financed by donations from its members such as from the dividend scheme. It awards grants between £100 and £5,000 with the average grant being £713 in 2005. Most awards are between £100 and £500.

Please see their website for detailed guidance and to download an application.

Co-operative Funds (local)

Individual co-operative groups often have a community fund raised by its members to distribute for good causes. Their funding priorities generally focus on providing benefits to communities served by the co-operative in question. The level of grants available will vary but will normally be £1,000 and under. For example the Heart of England offers grants up to £1,000.

Your local co-operative society website will provide guidance on any grants they offer. You can find your local co-operative by visiting the website below.

Co-operative Loan Fund

The Co-operative Loan Fund offers loans between £5,000 and £75,000. In addition the fund is able to make loans with initial low repayments of capital and interest but the loan will be at or near market terms. The fund will take secondary security behind other investors and is able to make unsecured loans.

Please visit their website for more detailed guidance and to download an application. Alternatively contact their fund managers on 01179 766750.