Thursday, 16 December 2010

Co-op Membership Community Fund

When we first moved to Somerset, it was a bit of culture shock to say the least. On that first weary night we drove into the nearest town, looking for food. All of the take-away joints either looked dismal or were closed. Exhausted, we pulled up in front of the Co-op, which was, mercifully, open. It was, I think, the first time I'd ever been in a Co-op. I was surprised to find that so much of the produce was fair trade. I still do a lot of my supermarket shopping there, including things like cotton wool pads, as even those are fair trade. Fair trade is very important to me.

On one of my earlier trips, I was invited to join the membership; every time I shop there, what I spend represents my share of the profit and it is converted back into a dividend for me - and I can either opt to have it paid to me or into the community membership fund.

That community membership fund is then paid back to the community in the form of grants. Groups can apply to the fund for a grant; so far this year The Co-operative Members have donated £1.2 million to local community groups across the country. It is a registered charity and is governed by The Co-operative Community Investment Fund (CCIF). This board of trustees are responsible for ensuring funds to projects are given in line with the Charities Commission guidelines. Grants vary from a minimum of £100 to a maximum of £2,000.

All the group need do is apply through the website for a grant. To be successful a group must:

  • Carry out positive work in the community (it does not have to have charitable status to apply)
And the project must:
  • Address a community issue
  • provide a long-term benefit to the community
  • Support co-operative values and principles
  • Ideally be innovative in its approach
There are many projects in the community here in Somerset who would benefit from a grant from the Co-Op community fund. Without going into any detail of my work, I see all sorts of people who could stand to benefit from a group with a grant. Certainly the local Advice Bureau would benefit from more funding. There are many child care groups who could stand to receive funding, allowing mums (and dads) to return to work. Perhaps increasing their skill set. Hell, the job centre here is so under-funded it's only open 3 days a week, and that can't be because there is so little unemployment.

We could actually really do with a swimming pool. A grant isn't going to build one though, sadly.

(this has been a sponsored post, although, for the record, I think the idea of the community fund is a great idea, regardless of any fee that I may have been given to post. What can I say, "funding" down here is slow, a girls gotta eat).

Cooperative Membership Fund

Cooperative Membership Fund

(Image courtesy of ebuzzing)
Sponsored Post

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agirl said...

If you're going to do a sponsored post, this one is a pretty awesome one to choose. We've got a co-op nearby, and I try to give them my business where possible too.

(Maybe someone reading this near you will listen to what you say about the pool. :) )

Sarah said...

I love the co-op - it really is one of the most ethical of the supermarket chains both in terms of its own financial structure and the community fund, and in terms of what it sells and where it gets it from.

Supporting local charities is a great idea, good for you for this publicity.

When you say a sponsored post, what do you mean exactly? Did you go to the co-op and ask them for money or did they approach you? I take your point about the extra income being handy but I wondered what had motivated you to start making sponsored posts lately. This is my first comment but I have read your blog for a long time and was for instance really surprised to see you posting a Ted Baker wishlist, it seemed quite different from the unique, vintage-inspired, stylish fashion choices I've always seen you to make in the past. I just wondered why you had decided to start this type of blogging - which of course is entirely up to you, and won't stop me from reading!

Peacock Feathers and Diamond Rings said...

Hi Sarah- in terms of it being a sponsored post, they approached me (via an agent - ebuzzing) and asked me to write a sponsored post. They will pay me a (smallish) sum via paypal in due course.

I do have some (limited)sponsorship down the sidebar of the blog already and so it didn't seem a huge step to do a sponsored post or two here and there. Without going into huge details here, I don't earn a vast wage and it is nice to earn a little teeny amount back. That said, I have chosen the products/companies carefully and only write about things people already use - i.e the paypal post or things I might have shared anyway - such as the co-op post. {the Ted baker part was part of the paypal post. You may have noticed I do occasionally post about Ted. Someone in my family actually designed all the pieces that I posted (apart from shoes) which I why I chose Ted from the list I was given - Ted did not pay me in any way for that, it was part of the smallish sum that came from paypal via ebuzzing).

I really appreciate your comment. I had thought long and hard about whether to include them, but thought I would try it out. Some things are always more popular than others I guess! I think my motivation was that I was offered the opportunity and I took it.

Do hope you continue reading. And commenting. I love engaging in dialogue with the people that read what I write. :)

Kristy said...

What agirl said. I wish there was something like your co-op near me; that would be fantastic. Unfortunately, things of that sort haven't quite caught on (to my knowledge) in the cities where I have lived. There are several grocery stores who sell organic & fair trade, but there is definitely no charity fund or community fund associated with them. Maybe when I have my coffee shop one day... :)