Helping you do amazing things

Showing concern for our local communities and supporting them to support themelves is a core part of being a co-operative. 

Whether it's a prize for a charity raffle, raising money for new play equipment, attending a community event or tackling food poverty, we believe together, with our members, we can make a real difference.

Almost 330 good causes supported through our Token and Giving Schemes in 2018/19
We aim to provide 100,000 meals through foodbanks by 2023

 

Co-operative Principle No. 7

Concern for the Community - Co-ops work to develop their communities, supported by their members. 

Find out more about why we do what we do

What matters to our members?

There are lots of ways we're able to support our communities. Our Community Funding Policy helps make sure we make the most of our members' money and support as many people as possible. 

We asked our members to vote on eight community issues that, as the largest independent retailer in the region, we could help to tackle. 

Over the next three years, we will be focusing on tackling the following four issues, as voted for by our members: 

Helping to combat food poverty 

We’ve been supporting local foodbanks for several years, with food donation points in all our food stores, as well as providing carrier bags and fundraising support.  

Over the next three years we want to:  

  • Provide 100,000 meals for people in need, through increased donations from both us and our members 
  • Dispel myths around the causes of food poverty 
  • Help foodbanks get the resources and support they need to help as many people as possible. 

Understanding food waste and reycling

As the first major retailer to sell perfectly edible food beyond its Best Before date, we want to help reduce food waste and increase recycling by:

  • Working in partnership with local charities and organisations to increase awareness
  • Pilot new ways for our customers and members to reduce food waste and improve recycling

Supporting the challenges of an ageing population 

The average age of the UK population is increasing. We want to provide opportunities, advice and support to help our members achieve a positive retirement. We aim to:  

  • Promote events and groups which encourage lifelong learning and community involvement 
  • Create volunteering opportunities for our members  
  • Equip people with the information they need to plan for a positive, healthy and productive retirement 

Creating a positive environment for young people to thrive 

With increased awareness of the importance of positive mental health in young people, we want to help ensure they have access to the right services, support and health advice, giving them the best possible start in life. We plan to do our bit by:  

  • Exploring how we can support good youth mental wellbeing. This includes creating resources for local groups to improve how they connect with young people 
  • Running events and campaigns in partnership with local charities which improve awareness of support for youth mental wellbeing  
  • Support groups that work in youth mental wellbeing to get the resources and support they need 
Keep up to date with our campaigns here.

Support and funding for good causes

Community Token Scheme

Since the launch of our Community Token Scheme, we’ve supported over 1,596 local good causes and charities with over £532,000 of funding.  

Our Community Token Scheme is how our members can have a say on how we support local good causes – every time they use one of our food stores. 

The more tokens a good cause gets, the bigger the donation they receive – up to £500! 

Local good causes can apply at any time to take part in our Community Token Scheme.  

Community Gift Voucher

From refreshments for community cafes to prizes for tombola's, our Community Gift Voucher helps us support lots of good causes. 

Community Giving Scheme 

Launched in 2018, our Community Giving Scheme gives members who use our Funeral Services the opportunity to support local good causes in memory of their loved one. 

Every three months, we share £5,000 of funding between 12 good causes across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.  

Local good causes can apply at any time to take part in our Community Giving Scheme by applying online. 

Event support and sponsorship

We love events that bring people together in our communities, whether a summer fete, a workshop raising awareness of important issues or a private event for those who are vulnerable or facing crisis.  

From sponsorship to practical support on the day, let us know what you’re up to and how we could support you.

The Co-op Juniors Theatre Company

The Co-op Juniors Theatre Company was founded during the second World War, performing at the Spa Pavilion in Felixstowe. 

Now the largest amateur theatre group in the UK, we are incredibly proud to continue to support them to this day, leasing them rehearsal space in Ipswich, Suffolk. 

Entertaining over 14,000 people each year with their musical productions and much-loved Christmas Spectacular, we look forward to continuing to support the Co-op Juniors. 

To find out more about the Co-op Juniors, including how to get involved and upcoming performances, visit www.coopjuniors.co.uk

Building Safer and Thriving Communities

Our Security business Co-op Secure Response was originally founded to provide security services for both East of England Co-op and local businesses.  

Not only do we protect what matters most to businesses in our region, at Co-op Secure Response we are equally as passionate about protecting what matters to the communities we are a part of. We have made it our mission to make them safer, happier places to be by acting on anti-social behaviour through positive engagement and ongoing education.  

We are proud to be one of the UK’s first retailers to have appointed a dedicated Anti-Social Behaviour Team since doing so have been able to build unique relationships with authorities and residents alike.  

We have already seen a 72% reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour in one area alone. Other positive developments include: 

  • We are the only retailer to take part in Street Week, an initiative which sees local police, councils, support agencies and housing associations come together to listen to the safety concerns of local people. 
  • Each year, we lend our support to USDAWs ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign which endeavours to reduce anti-social behaviour towards colleagues in stores throughout East Anglia. 
  • In partnership with Ipswich Magistrate’s Court, we have introduced a restorative justice programme for young people who have been involved in anti-social behaviour. 

Supporting Families in Need

Families in Need (FIND), provides thousands of food parcels to people each year across Ipswich, Suffolk. 

We have been a long-term supporter of the local charity, having leased them premises for a number of years, as well as collecting food donations in our local stores and raising funds through in-store collections and the Token Scheme.

Now in the process of building their own purpose-built foodbank, Maureen Reynel MBE, Founder and Chair of FIND, said: "East of England Co-op is one of our most loyal and generous long-term supporters of FIND and it's incredible that their customers and colleagues have raised over £1,300 through in-store collections, raffles and the token scheme. The promise of fixtures, fittings and practical support with setting up the new food bank will really help us to fulfil our ambitions."

We're very proud to have supported FIND for a number of years and are pleased to continue to be a part of their journey to ensure they can continue to provide their much-needed services to the local community. 

Providing housing for the homeless in Ipswich 

We're incredibly proud to have been an integral part in a new project to provide housing for the homeless in Ipswich. Initiating a partnership with The Selig (Suffolk) Trust and local housing provider, Orwell Housing Association, we have helped to open a home in Suffolk, called The Cord, for people have have been living on the street. 

Read more about the home and its first tenant Mark here. 

A Responsible Business

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Values and principles.

Why we do what we do

The first co-operatives back in the 1800s were formed as a different way of doing business that was better for everyone, driven by values and principles which still guide co-ops to this day. 

Today, we're proud to be the largest independent retailer operating in the East of England. We provide food stores and specialist services, such as funerals, security, travel agents and petrol filling stations to communities across Essex. Norfolk. Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. 

With a significant property portfolio and other businesses, such as events and conference facilities and stonemasonry, we are a diverse and modern business. 

As a co-operative business. we're run differently to other big organisations, putting our members first. Our focus has always been, and always will be, the local communities in our region.