Co-op is encouraging its members to donate their unused rewards to help those impacted by the coronavirus.
Co-op has created the Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund so that its 4.6 million members can donate the unspent rewards, which total over £30m and will be channelled into foodbanks, a funeral hardship fund and front-line community causes.
Its CEO, Steve Murrells, is also donating 20% of his own salary over a three-month period into the fund.
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 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.
“1% of what our members spend already goes to local causes and now if they wish they can donate their 5% personal rewards to help lessen the impact the emergency is having on millions of our fellow citizens.”
This is the latest in a number of initiatives by the retailer to help those affected by the pandemic. Last week the Co-op announced it had pulled its Easter TV advertising campaign and donated the airtime – worth £2.5 million – to promoting the work of FareShare. In partnership with the charity, the Co-op created a TV commercial in tribute to the local heroes playing their part in feeding the nation during the coronavirus crisis. It encouraged customers to support food banks by either donating in-store or via a text to a dedicated number. Co-op has also pledged £1.5million of food to FareShare.
The retailer has also launched Co-operate, an online community centre that connects vulnerable people under lockdown to local and national support initiatives, as well as volunteers who are willing to run virtual events such as exercise classes, music groups, or arts and crafts classes for others.
In addition, it is currently stocking The Big Issue in stores while its vendors are unable to sell the magazine on the street.
Matt Atkinson, Chief Membership Officer for The Co-op 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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