Community groups can get help with warm space projects via the Co-op

As a number of severe weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK and temperatures continue to fall, the Co-op has increased the flow of funds

By Neil Speight

Posted: Friday, 20th January 2023 4:00 pm

More Co-op help for warm spaces
More Co-op help for warm spaces
Local initiatives

AS a number of severe weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK and temperatures continue to fall, the Co-op has increased the flow of funds to community groups through its £1 million 'Warm Spaces' funding boost, to provide further urgent support to local community organisations across the UK, as they help communities navigate rising energy costs during the cold winter months.

All community groups with live fundraising campaigns as part of the fund have already been given £500 from Co-op to help them reach their fundraising goal and all new groups who sign up will also receive a £500 payment to kick start fundraising.

Eligible groups who already provide a warm space and want to increase opening times or extend existing services or activities this winter can apply for match funding – up to £5,000 per group is available by applying at by Tuesday, 28 February (fundraising to be completed by 31 March 2023).  

Since launching the match funding platform with Crowdfunder six weeks ago in December 2022 more than £240,000 has been paid out by Co-op to help 300 groups provide warm spaces in communities across the UK – with groups from Thurso in far north of Scotland to Newlyn in the South of Cornwall, all successfully receiving funding.

This funding comes as a welcome boost, with insight from more than 3,000 local community causes across the UK showing that nearly two-thirds (59%) of projects have experienced a shortfall in funding over the past 12 months. Over three- quarters (84%) of local causes have seen an increase in demand, particularly those providing support for people through the cost-of-living crisis.

More than a quarter (27%) of community projects said they were considering having to reduce services as a result of shortfalls in funding, whilst more than a tenth (13%) of local projects have already closed or reduced services.

Projects that can apply might include, a community cafe that needs funding to continue offering their building as a warm space; a local village support group wanting to extend existing activities to support more people in their community; a community fridge, wanting to promote their services more widely to meet increasing need or a youth group whose energy costs have increased.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Member Participation at Co-op commented: "As the mercury dops and conditions turn icy this week, with more in the forecast, it's important to remember the vital work that community groups and organisations are providing to people across the UK at a time when it's most needed.. As our Co-op research shows, we have a huge role to play in supporting these vital services that help during the cost-of-living crisis.

 "I'd encourage groups to apply for our Warm Spaces Funding now and make use of the additional £500 funding as well as the match funding from Co-op so they can help to provide warm spaces to people in their community.

 "Funding for warm spaces forms part of our response to our community missions of access to food, mental wellbeing support and opportunities for young people. Launching this funding boosts will help groups keep their lights and heating on as they bring communities together to keep warm in the coldest months of the year– increasing overall wellbeing. It may also mean people don't have to choose between accessing food or heating this winter. Plus, having a warm space allows the community to take a break from their everyday worries, improving their mental wellbeing.

 "The £1m funding boost wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for our members choosing Co-op and raising funds to support communities every time they shop with us. Our customers and members can help even more by donating through Crowdfunder or take part by using the services that are being funded."

Since 2016 Co-op members have helped raise £117 million for local communities, which includes 30,000 Local Community Fund projects supported, funding over 280 fridges with Hubbub, building the network to 350 fridges by end of 2022. Expanding the Your Local Pantry network to 225 within the next 3 years, providing more communities with sustainable solutions to access to food. 

 In addition to signposting 900,000 people to helpful mental wellbeing information and services with Mind, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and Inspire, and helping 6,000 young people make communities safer and fairer places to live through our Peer Action Collective

For further information and match funding criteria visit For further information and match funding criteria visit


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