The Billy Chip Foundation at Boley Park

Central Co-op, alongside its members and customers, has helped raise £73,000 for charities supporting those affected by homelessness, as well as donating 7,600 toys to local disadvantaged children through its Goodwill To All festive charity initiative. 

Christmas 2023 saw Central Co-op set up a new charity partnership with Shelter, a national organisation that offers support for those looking to secure safe housing. Using micro-donations charity, Pennies, customers were encouraged to donate when paying for their shopping or fuel by card if spending over £5. 

Andy Harris, director of income generation at Shelter, said: “With the number of children homeless and living in temporary accommodation the highest on record, Shelter’s work is more urgent than ever. We help hundreds of people and families impacted by the housing emergency every day, but we couldn’t do this without the generosity of those who raise money for us – that’s why we’re so grateful for the brilliant efforts of the team at Central Co-Op and its customers. 

“Thank you to everyone at Central Co-Op who helped raise these vital funds for us. Every penny helps Shelter to provide crucial advice and support, and fight for the solutions people want and need to end homelessness.”

Both customers and the Billy Chip Foundation, which also works to support those experiencing homelessness, benefitted from Central Co-op’s Star Deals over the period. The Star Deals saw customers save money on a range of festive goodies such as mulled wine and mince pies, with sales then supporting the Billy Chip Foundation. 

As a longstanding partner of the Billy Chip Foundation, members and customers have also been encouraged to buy physical tokens which can be donated and then exchanged for food and drink at Central Co-op stores, as well as several other participating outlets. This initiative allows people to donate safely and transparently, ensuring each donation is going directly to those who need it most - something that will continue in Central Co-op stores throughout 2024. 

On the run up to the festive period, the Goodwill To All toy appeal returned for 2023, encouraging Central Co-op members and customers to donate gifts for children who may have otherwise gone without. As a result, 7,600 gifts were distributed via Family Action, the Salvation Army and local food banks to disadvantaged children. 

In the summer of 2024, Central Co-op will be celebrating its third year of the Malawi Partnership, an initiative set up to increase trading capacity, sustainably supporting farmers and producers in a country where it can make the greatest difference. Central Co-op’s support is witnessing the planting of 4,000 extra macadamia seedlings and a 20 per cent increase in coffee trees, with 800 co-operative smallholder farmers trained in the production and use of organic fertiliser. 

Central Co-op’s celebrated Community Dividend Fund scheme is back for 2024. A total of almost £143,000 was split between 176 amazing community projects last year, including Birmingham Says No CIC, empowering young people against knife crime and youth violence, and Atherstone Walking Football group, who provide walking football activities for those over 50.