Southern Co-op food banks

Source: Southern Co-op

Micro-grants of £200 will be distributed via online platform Neighbourly

Southern Co-op has set up a new fund that will be distributed among various food banks to reach families living in “pockets of poverty”.

An initial donation of £5,000 has been given by the retailer to Feed a Family Fund so local food banks can start applying for help immediately.

The micro-grants of £200 will be distributed via online platform Neighbourly.

The independent co-operative is also asking its customers and members to donate to its fund, which will enable local groups to purchase essential equipment or cover running coss.

“Our customers, colleagues and members have been incredibly generous throughout the pandemic,” said Southern Co-op community and campaign co-ordinator Holly Bramble.

“They have been donating goods at all of our stores that have collection points and have helped thousands of people being supported by 44 different food banks.

“At the start of the pandemic, we also donated £100,000 to help a variety of local causes including FareShare – the UK’s largest hunger-fighting charity. But more needs to be done.

“There are pockets of poverty in a number of areas where we have colleagues working in retail stores, funeral care and coffee branches. We know this won’t solve the crisis but we really hope this fund will help reduce the strain faced by so many families.”

Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth said: “Small amounts can make a big difference for local causes, who have proved themselves to be some of the most innovative through the pandemic, and we need to make every effort to ensure that all at-risk people get the help they need as we continue to respond to and recover from this crisis.

“UK charities face a massive funding gap. If we can get immediate support to existing local causes, we’ll go a long way to ensuring the resilience and recovery of our communities.”

There are currently 75 stores with food bank collection points for product donations in Berkshire, Bristol, Devon, Dorset, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, London, Somerset, Surrey, West Sussex and Wiltshire.

Donations to the Feed a Family Fund can be made at the till in a Southern Co-op retail store or via