New funding available for charities and community groups from the East of England Co-op

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Applications are now open for community groups and good causes across the region to receive part of a £110,000 fund announced by the East of England Co-op.

Since its launch in 2020, East of England Co-op’s Community Cares Fund has donated over £1 million which has directly helped more than 138,000 local people.

Charities or community groups can apply for funding online and will need to show they are working towards one or more of the following:


  • Improved access to social activities for all 
  • Reduction in feelings of isolation and improved wellbeing
  • Supported people into education or employment 
  • Provided information, advice or guidance to maximise income
  • Evidence of partnership working or alliance formation

One charity that previously benefitted is The Pear Tree Fund in Halesworth, Suffolk which was awarded a grant of £5,000 towards Cooking for One sessions.

The community food project supports people who have been bereaved to cook and eat healthily, develop routines for self-care and improve their health and wellbeing.

Pear Tree Centre and Operations Manager, Seva Newrick, said: “Strong bonds and friendships were formed in each group and participants said they felt more energetic and positive by improving their eating and the social contact and friendships they formed during the sessions.

“With support from peers and staff at Pear Tree, people and those around them have been helped to find a positive way to live through their grief journey. They have also reported reduced anxiety, improved relationships and a greater connection to community.”

Another group that has benefitted from the Fund is the Bridgeway Mission in Colchester, Essex.

They received a grant of £3,500 towards the food and equipment costs of providing meals and support to 900 refugees and asylum seekers.  

Founder Souzan Yousif said “The project allowed our community to feel safe and confident, as they feel they are in their country by providing them with cultural food and remembering their time when they were in their country. 

“We noticed a decrease in isolation and loneliness as more people got involved, and an increase in mental health and wellbeing, as they always engage in the events, as we bridge the gap between the original country and the new country. The events impacted the community positively because they met new people, created friendships and developed their confidence, as they felt they were in their country by using the same culture and food.” 

Doug Field OBE, Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op, commented: “For more than 155 years, we’ve proudly served our communities. We strive to make a real difference by supporting those in need. Our focus has always been, and always will be, on strengthening our local communities. We encourage any local charity or community group in the county to apply for this funding and to benefit from the difference it can make.”

Applications are now open and close on Monday 24 June 2024.

To apply for the East of England Co-op’s Community Cares Fund visit: