Let’s be Co-operative

I used to think that the Co-op was just the name for a slightly down-at-heel chain of supermarkets. Turns out it’s a lot more than that. It’s had a revamp of late, it’s started to call itself The Co-operative and it’s got the lovely David Tennant (or someone equally yummy-sounding) doing its TV ad voice overs in a Scottish accent as warm and tasty as a bowl of porridge, saying ‘The Co-operative. Gud with Fud.’

More importantly, it turns out that The Co-operative is a massive force for good works. It’s probably been doing this forever, it just happens I’d never heard of this aspect of its work before. Its Co-operative Community Fund helps thousands of charities, local groups and associations across the country. The Co-operative members have donated £1.2 m this year to local community groups across the country.

When I heard that, I got thinking. There’s plenty that can be done even here, in delightful Dulwich, to improve life in small ways. Child One, for instance, went to a youth group the other day where 8 teenage girls and 8 teenage boys sat around a table for nearly 2 hours in total silence. She found it pretty excruciating. If they’d had a table tennis table, they could have done something fun and broken the ice. As it is, she probably won’t be going again – and I’m not so secretly thrilled! I told her not to expect a decent conversation from a boy until he’s at least 18. Then TL pointed out this might mean she would think 18 year olds were a good bet, and I shut up. Anyway, you see what I’m saying – a few props and ice-breakers at youth groups would probably be no bad thing for tongue-tied teenagers and parents less manically over-protective than me.

What about where you live? Is there anything you’d like to spend a grant on? Have a think, and pop over to The Cooperative Membership Fund website. To be successful, a group must carry out positive work in the community, and the proposed project itself must address a community issue, provide long-term benefit, support co-operative values and principles, and ideally be innovative in approach – my photo is of the happy folks at the Bexley Swimming Club:

Grants vary from £100 to a maximum of £2,000 and it’s money spent in the area which gets donated. So get spending in your local The Co-operative shop.

The Cooperative Membership Fund


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