The Co-op is looking for local groups to apply for its next round of the Local Community Fund, which is hoped will help organisations which have struggled through the coronavirus pandemic.
The challenges of the pandemic are far from over for grassroots community groups, according to a new survey from the Co-op.
It found more than three quarters (76%) of surveyed community causes expected demand for their services to increase over the next six months; including a huge 94% of groups working to support mental wellbeing, 96% of groups supporting young people and 83% of those tackling food poverty.
Over 3,000 local causes from across the UK shared how the pandemic has affected their groups and communities, making the survey one of the largest of its kind, and highlighting that support for local community groups is needed now more than ever before.
To address this and help create fairer communities, Co-op is inviting grassroots projects that support access to food, help improve mental wellbeing or provide opportunities for young people, to apply for the Local Community Fund.
Applications are open from 4 - 30 May.
Despite 53% of causes saying that funding has decreased, the survey evidenced the resilience and ingenuity of local community groups in responding to the pandemic, with 76% delivering their services in new ways, 75% finding new sources of funding and 70% developing and improving their digital skills.
Co-op’s current Local Community Fund causes are already playing a key role in helping communities rebuild, with 95% of causes stating that their project was helping their community’s response to the pandemic.
Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op, said: “Our Co-op vision is ‘co-operating for a fairer world’ and it’s heartening to see this come to life in these grassroots projects.
"Our Local Community Fund and support from our members has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic, and we want even more local groups to take advantage of this opportunity.
“Findings from the survey, our own Community Wellbeing Index, members and colleagues has shown us that we can all come together to make the world a fairer place.
"Even with the easing of lockdown, the communities across the UK will still need our help. Members are encouraged to select a cause each round, allowing them to support grassroots causes in that they really care about.
“This year, when a group applies for the Local Community Fund, we will also connect them to Co-operate our online community centre, where they can come together and benefit from help and support from like-minded people and causes.
"This is an exciting development which shows the power of co-operation beyond funding.”
Applications close on 30 May and local groups can find out more here.
New exhibition of work by Terry Jeavons capturing images from the COP conferences of Doha, Warsaw and Paris, showing the venue, formalities, routines,...