The Co-operative Group has already raised £1m for the Carers Trust, just three months after announcing it as its charity of the year.

The society, which is aiming to raise £5m for the charity, said staff had run marathons, taken part in cycle rides and climbed Ben Nevis.

“I am delighted to see the enthusiasm our staff, members and customers are demonstrating in support of young people in our communities who undertake unpaid practical and emotional caring responsibilities for family members or friends who cannot cope without them,” said Michael Fairclough, The Co-op’s head of community and co-operative investment.

“Although it will affect most families at some time, caring remains a hidden issue. Together we will put this issue on the agenda and make life-changing differences to thousands of young lives.”

Carers Trust was unveiled as the Co-op’s charity of the year in January. The event was launched by Sugababes singer Jade Ewen (above), who is a young adult carer.