A FUNDING boost lies in store for groups, organisations and charities across Saddleworth thanks to Co-op’s Local Community Fund.
Last year, Co-op delivered £15million to more than 4,500 local causes and community organisations nationwide through the initiative.
The scheme allows Co-op members to go online to which cause in their community to support.
Then when they purchase selected products with their membership card, a donation will be given to their chosen cause.
And this year, Co-op is doubling the amount they give when members shop in their stores, so 2p for every £1 spent goes back to the community.
Uppermill and Delph Co-ops each have three local causes for members to choose from while the stores in Lees and Grotton are jointly supporting another three causes.
At the Uppermill store, the causes are Breathe (Saddleworth Parents and Carers Group), Saddleworth Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and Dobcross Silver Band.
Breathe provides a safe place for parents and carers to share their experiences of looking after those with mental health difficulties, as well as offering and signposting support.
“The money will be used to buy resources such as leaflets and books from mental well-being charities such as MIND,” explained Jude Gidney, parent and Breathe co-ordinator.
“We also aim to improve communications between health services and the group by organising an event to bring the two together, with the health services showcasing their work and offering to talk to parents and carers. The event will be open to members and non-members.”
Saddleworth RDA, based in Diggle, provide learning and therapeutic horse-riding experiences for children and adults with physical, emotional, and learning difficulties. They also offer volunteering opportunities and Duke of Edinburgh Award placements.
Alison Pickering, Saddleworth RDA chairperson, said: “Our aim is to improve the social interaction, health, and well-being of our participants and volunteers, and to work collaboratively with other local charities and groups.
“If we can raise enough funding, we want to build a covered outdoor space for riders to learn horse-care and transferrable life skills, have therapeutic pony sessions, and watch arena lessons.”
Meanwhile, the world-famous Dobcross Silver Band, established in 1875, hopes to put the money towards a concert to celebrate their history as well as continuing their free entertainment.
Based at Dobcross Band and Social Club, they have received visits from bands from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and America, and is home to one of the annual Whit Friday Brass Band contests.
“We welcome players of all ages to develop their music skills in a friendly environment with expert tuition at minimal cost,” said chairman Andy Black.
“The band has been an integral part of the village for 145 years, providing social and mental health benefits as well as creating great music.
“Our funding goes towards the free entertainment we put on in the community and beyond, via concerts, marches, and contests.
“We are hoping to raise enough to stage a special concert to celebrate the band’s glorious heritage at the heart of the Dobcross village community.”
At Delph Co-op the causes that members can choose between are Carry on Delph, Delph Community Association (DCA) Chapel Garden Project and Delph Youth and Training Band.
Carry on Delph is a new group formed in March last year to assist and support residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Joanne Leighton, spokesperson, explained: “We are here for everyone and can help with a foodbank, arranging deliveries for vulnerable people, picking up shopping and medication, friendly phone calls, posting mail, dog walking and faith support.”
Any money raised by the Co-op will be used predominantly to fund the Delph foodbank, supporting families in need throughout the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the DCA supports the local community by identifying concerns which individuals feel unable to resolve on their own and bringing them to the attention of the local authorities.
“We recruit pro-active local people who identify and address community problems for the benefit of everyone,” said Keith Begley, project member.
“The Chapel Garden is a prime village asset and continued funding is vital in order to maintain it as an attractive place of peace and claim in the midst of all the strains and stresses of modern times.”
Delph Youth and Training Band provides opportunities for young people in the community to learn brass and percussion instruments. The young players develop musical skills in their spare time which supports their well-being through group co-operation and a sense of belonging. They also gain a feeling of civic pride and value by playing at community events for a wide range of audiences.
“We want to organise an event which mirrors the Christmas Lights Switch-on, but in the summer,” explained Beth Bowker.
“We hope to create the legacy of an annual event for the community to join together and promote health, happiness, and well-being.”
Lees and Grotton Co-ops are pooling members’ funds together to support Bring Me Sunshine Music CIC, Mahdlo Youth Zone and Oldham Band (Lees).
Bring Me Sunshine Music provides music therapy and entertainment to people with all different forms of dementia across the community.
The funding will go towards additional equipment that, once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, will further enhance their therapeutic experience.
Founder Kelly Tracey said: “We were gobsmacked to be chosen for Co-Op causes and we never imagined, when we applied, that we would.
“Coronavirus has really brought home the things that we are all missing, but for those with dementia is an especially lonely time.
“We have had to completely change the way we provide help to those who are most isolated and we are beyond grateful to be receiving this additional, vital funding.”
Mahdlo is a state-of-the-art youth zone in the heart of Oldham for eight to 19 year olds (up to 25 for young people with a disability). Open 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, they offer an exciting range of activities and opportunities for all young people across the borough.
But the charity has felt the effects of the pandemic, with many of their usual activities and fundraisers put on hold.
However, they have adapted to ensure they can still deliver remote support via one-to-one and group video calls, telephone check-ins and a host of other outreach services.
They have also put together food hampers, Christmas gifts and care packages for families in need across the borough.
Oldham Band (Lees) is a championship section brass band but has had little opportunity to perform during the last 12 months since the onset of the pandemic.
With the Whit Friday Band Contests this May cancelled once more along with all their usual concerts and competitions, they hope it won’t be too long before they can pick up their instruments once more.
• Not a Co-op member? Join now for just £1 and then start spending in store to support your chosen causes: www.coop.co.uk/local-causes