The Southern Co-op has opened three new stores over the past couple of weeks, with local charities each receiving £1,000 ahead of annual partnerships with the stores.

The new sites in Andover, Whitstable and Chislehurst, South East London, follow the addition of 16 stores to Southern Co-op’s estate in 2017. 

The Andover store in Hampshire has donated £1,000 to Augusta Park Community Association (APCA) as part of the society’s ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ scheme. Located on the recently-built Augusta Park estate, the store includes 30 parking spaces, a Local Flavours range, a food to go section including an Italian Lavazza coffee self-serve unit, and an in-store bakery.

The Whitstable in Kent has partnered with Friends of Westmeads, a charity made up of parents to support Westmeads School. The store has 12 allocated parking spaces, a full Post Office service, as well as a Local Flavours and a food to go selection with a Lavazza coffee unit and in-store bakery.

The new store in Chislehurst has partnered with Friends of Chislehurst and Walden Recreation Grounds (Focrg). The store has 15 allocated parking spaces and a Local Flavours range, with products such as Kent Crisps, Sussex Charmer Cheese, Springs Smokeries fish and drinks from the West Berkshire Brewery. It also houses the same food to go and bakery solutions as the other two stores.

Love Your Neighbourhood is Southern Co-op’s community engagement programme. The initiative addresses four key social themes, as identified by a survey of over 4,000 members and colleagues, for promoting: ‘Greener Neighbourhoods’, ‘Healthier Neighbourhoods’, ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’, and ‘More Inclusive Neighbourhoods’.

Charities and community groups can also apply for cash donations or goods through the ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ scheme, which is funded by the 5p single-use carrier bag levy.

A spokeswoman said the society would target new locations “where there is a good match for our brand and we can expand profitably with the right offer for our customers”. It currently operates 222 stores.