Co-op launches fund to help raise £30m for those hit by Covid-19

Co-op CEO Steve Murrells is to direct his own personal income to kick-start a new Co-op Members Fund, which will be channelled into foodbanks, a funeral hardship fund and front-line community causes.

The Co-op boss said he will be donating 20% of his salary over a three-month period into the newly created Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund. The fund has been established so that the Co-op’s 4.6 million members can donate their unspent existing member rewards, totalling over £30m, to help the selected causes.

Initially, the Co-op said its members fund will be supporting food banks, a funeral bereavement fund established for those in financial hardship and local causes that are already being supported by the Co-op and working to alleviate the impact on the present lock down.

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Currently Co-op members receive a 5% reward every time they buy an own-brand product or service which is held in an online wallet which can be redeemed on future purchases. By visiting the Co-op’s website members will be able to donate the existing money in their wallet to the Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund.

Steve Murrells, the Co-op’s CEO, said: “Millions of people are suffering financial hardship at the moment and so it felt right for me to offer to take this pay cut and directly support causes which are very important to me and close to my heart.

“One percent of what our members spend already goes to local causes and now if they wish they can donate their 5 per cent personal rewards to help lessen the impact the emergency is having on millions of our fellow citizens.”

Last week the Co-op announced it had pulled its Easter TV advertising campaign, which was originally publicising its chocolate eggs, and donated the airtime – worth £2.5m – to promoting the work of food bank charity FareShare.

Matt Atkinson, chief membership officer, added: “I know that many of our members want to support others at this very difficult time and our new fund makes it as simple as possible for them to contribute in their own way. The collective effort of our members could have a massive impact for thousands of lives in the weeks and months ahead.”

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