Co-op launch fund to help foodbanks, funeral hardship and community causes

It’s the latest good deed that the retail giant has carried out after stocking The Big Issue last week

Co-op moved to help The Big Issue through the Covid-19 crisis last week and now they are turning their attention to foodbanks, funerals and communities in need.

The high-street giant began stocking The Big Issue magazine last week, joining Sainsbury’s and McColl’s as we temporarily switched to selling in shops while vendors are unable to sell on the streets.

Now Co-op have set up a Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund to allow their 4.6 million members to donate their unspent existing member rewards to good causes.

At the moment, that means more than £30m is available to be funnelled into the fund. It is accrued every time a Co-op member buys one of the firm’s own-brand products or services, sending a five per cent reward to their online wallet.

It is hoped that customers will donate these rewards to give foodbanks a boost as well as funding funerals for those in financial hardship and helping community groups alleviate the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on vulnerable people.

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There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.

Co-op CEO Steve Murrells is also donating cash to the fund, giving 20 per cent of his salary over a three-month period.

“Millions of people are suffering financial hardship at the moment and so it felt right for me to offer to take this pay cut and directly support causes which are very important to me and close to my heart,” he said.

“One per cent of what our members spend already goes to local causes and now if they wish they can donate their five per cent personal rewards to help lessen the impact the emergency is having on millions of our fellow citizens.”

Last week the Co-op announced it had pulled its Easter TV advertising campaign, which was originally publicising its chocolate eggs, and donated the airtime – worth £2.5 million – to promoting the work of food bank charity FareShare.

They’re not the only food retailer doing good – Morrison’s are producing extra food and upping deliveries to get £10m of meals to foodbanks as Covid-19 drives demand and cuts down on volunteers.

And more and more high-street stockists are selling The Big Issue too. Get your copy from Sainsbury’s, McColl’s or Co-op or subscribe at bigissue.com/subscribe to support vendors while they are unable to sell the magazine on the streets.

Image: Sludge G/Flickr