New report reveals Central England Co-operative, with stores across West Norfolk, champions community causes

Dersingham store team celebrating the golden ticket giveaway with; Dersingham Parish Council Chairman Sue Payne, Co-op elected Membership & Community Ambassador, Danny Douglas, Dersingham Parish Cllr, Kate Hathaway, Daniel, 12 years old, Grace, 6 years old, Toby, 8 years old, and Harley, 4 years old. Photo: Central England Co-operative. ANL-160411-094453001

Dersingham store team celebrating the golden ticket giveaway with; Dersingham Parish Council Chairman Sue Payne, Co-op elected Membership & Community Ambassador, Danny Douglas, Dersingham Parish Cllr, Kate Hathaway, Daniel, 12 years old, Grace, 6 years old, Toby, 8 years old, and Harley, 4 years old. Photo: Central England Co-operative. ANL-160411-094453001

Central England Co-operative is making a difference worth millions through its work in the community.

The Co-op has revealed that every £1 it spends on good causes is actually worth £20.50 in positive community impact.

The figure has been released after the Society became the first co-operative of its type to publish a Social Return on Investment (SROI) report, which takes an in-depth look at its community work.

SROI specialist ‘Make a Difference CIC took on the project and focused on the social value and return provided by the Society’s Community Dividend Fund, award-winning SENse to Aspire scheme and local activities organised for members.

The results showcased that for every £1 that the Society invests in community projects, the monetary value of the impact made by these good causes is on average worth a massive £20.50.

The community projects Central England Co-op invests in have helped give people more confidence, better fitness and new skills. The people who take part are also more likely to put more of their own time and effort into the community and take less out.

This means that every pound spent with Central England Co-operative will be stretched a little further thanks to the findings of the SROI report.

Chief Executive of Central England Co-operative Martyn Cheatle said: “We took the decision to undertake this new form of robust analysis of our community impact in order to inform future decision making and ensure that we continue to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The Community Dividend Fund is a grant that members can apply for on behalf of community groups, schools and charities.

People can ask for anything from £100 to £5,000 and the fund comes from one per cent of Central England Co-operative’s trading profit.Over £2 million has been handed out across 16 counties since its inception in 2007.

The Society’s SENse to Aspire scheme aims to make a difference to young people with special educational needs while members groups take place across the Society’s trading area and include everything from keep fit to amateur dramatics.