IMG-20210305-WA0003Diana Varakina planting trees in South Woodford

Diana Varakina, Co-op Member Pioneer for Wanstead and South Woodford, reports on the supermarket’s latest Local Community Fund awards and encourages applications for the new round

Back on a very sunny Saturday afternoon on 27 February, for the first time in my life, I took part in planting cherry and apple trees with the South Woodford Society and The Orchard Project. We planted a gorgeous cherry tree at the entrance to the site, on the corner of Primrose Road and Mulberry Way, and are looking forward to planting herbs and soft fruit bushes soon!

The South Woodford Society is one of the beneficiaries of the Round 6 Co-op Local Community Fund, along with Snaresbrook Primary School. The first payout was at the beginning of April, and Snaresbrook Primary School was awarded £1,298 and South Woodford Society £1,345.

This funding will help South Woodford Society with the regreening along the A406 and a bench and signage for the community orchard and forest garden. It is the second year of funding for the Snaresbrook Primary School PTA, and the money will be used to improve the fitness and well-being of children by laying protective surfaces on their new multi-use games area as well as buying new equipment for nursery and reception classes.

Projects across the UK that Co-op members are passionate about are supported by the Co-op Local Community Fund. Every time a member buys selected Co-op branded products and services, two pence of every pound spent is returned as cashback, and we give the same to support community organisations and local causes. You do need to be a Co-op member to support your preferred cause. If you have a blue Co-op card, you should already be a member, but will need to register to be able to select your local cause.

Applications for the new Round 7 funding opens on 4 May. To be accepted, you must have a project in mind that will benefit your local community. Many applications are from charities or local community groups, but as long as your organisation isn’t run for private profit, you can apply. Your project should fit one of the following categories:

  • Fairer access to food.
  • Fairer access to mental well-being services.
  • Fairer access to education and employment for young people.

Once accepted, you will need to encourage Co-op members to select your cause by promoting your project on social media and in your community.

Shortlisting usually happens in September or October, and the first payout will be in April 2022, so any project should be able to support itself until then. Good luck, everyone!

For more information on the Co-op Local Community Fund, visit swvg.co.uk/coop or email diana.varakina@coop.co.uk