Community Cares Fund reopens for second round of applications

20th September 2021

The region’s largest independent retailer is awarding grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to charities and organisations supporting people in its trading areas across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Since its launch in April 2020, the East of England Co-op has donated over £410,000, including £190,000 donated by members, from its Community Cares Fund to local charities and good causes.

In July this year the retailer awarded their first round of funding for 2021, with £112,000 going to 30 organisations across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex. The East of England Co-op received an overwhelming number of applications, demonstrating both the need and desire of community groups to refocus and increase the support they offer as the country transitions into this next phase of the pandemic.

Niall O’Keeffe, Joint Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op said: “We’re delighted to be opening this next round of applications for grants from our Community Cares Fund. The local causes we’ve supported so far have been able to achieve fantastic things so it’s wonderful to be giving this opportunity to even more groups and organisations in our region.

“There are so many inspiring people and groups in our communities working to make a positive difference. If you’re one of those people and the work you’re doing is addressing one of our key focus areas; community action, mental health and wellbeing or food justice for all, I’d encourage you to find out more about our Community Cares Fund and see if you are eligible to apply for a grant.”

Ferriers Barn, one of the charities in Essex that received funding in the previous round, provides a range of activities for adults with disabilities from their day centre in rural Essex, near Bures. Ferriers Barn received £4,000 to help with some essential upgrades to the centre where they run activities including cookery, woodwork, pottery, gardening and arts and crafts.

Nicola Goodman, Administrator at Ferriers Barn said: “The grant the East of England Co-op  provided was a god send, we had to close last year due to Covid-19 and since reopening have had to change the way in which we work, including more ventilation.

“Our existing heating system was antiquated and ineffective, not to mention noisy. We froze in the winter. We have used the grant money to replace the heating with wonderful infrared heating, which is highly efficient and silent. The difference is incredible. We are able to have the doors and windows open and still stay snug and warm.

“We honestly cannot thank the East of England Community Cares Fund enough for this grant, it means we can operate safely and still make sure our members are comfortable at all times.”

East of England Co-op’s Community Cares Fund is open to grant applications from voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, charities and parish councils that are creating or adapting services or activities that will have a positive impact in the communities where the East of England Co-op trades in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

The day-to-day administration of the Fund is carried out by Suffolk Community Foundation and distributed by Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex Community Foundations on behalf of the East of England Co-op.

Funding applications should address at least one of these key areas:  

  • Community action– including the development of physical and virtual spaces and services that bring communities together. 
  • Mental health and wellbeing 
  • Food justice for all– including access to, and sharing knowledge about good quality, nutritious food. 

This fund is to support organisations in Colchester, Braintree, Maldon, Tendring. Near to their shops: Store finder – East of England Co-op 

The deadline to apply is Friday 8 October at 5pm. However, this Fund may be closed early if oversubscribed so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Grant decisions will be made in January 2022. 

To apply, please fill out our online application form here. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your work in advance of applying, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.