A total of £18,500 was given to the Wildlife Trusts after Southern Co-op nominated them to receive it as part of an award scheme run by the national Co-op Group.
Southern Co-op, which runs food and funeral stores across the south of England, nominated the Wildlife Trusts as a charity to receive a donation from The Pioneer Awards which recognises organisations which support co-operatives in pioneering a different way of doing business.
As part of the awards, each organisation is able to nominate a local charity to receive a donation.
The funding will be split between Hampshire & Isle of Wight, Sussex and Dorset Wildlife Trusts and used to support their work along our coastline and beneath the seas.
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Trust said: “Southern Co-op’s generosity will support us in celebrating our amazing marine wildlife through our Secrets of the Solent project. We are raising awareness about this special environment through art, seafood, citizen science, and volunteering, and tackling the pressures it faces such as plastic pollution.”
Sarah Ward, Marine Officer at Sussex Wildlife Trust said: “We are using Southern Co-op’s generous donation to help deliver our vital Sussex Shoresearch and Seasearch Volunteering Projects, helping us to record plants, animals and habitats in our seas and on our shoreline. The aim of the project is to build a baseline of data on marine wildlife around Sussex to help promote its conservation.”
Dorset Wildlife Trust said: “This kind donation from Southern Co-op will be put to use at our marine centres at Kimmeridge and Chesil beach, to continue and broaden our schools and visitor engagement programme. The additional funding will enable us to host school trips and educate and engage visitors with learning and activities about the marine and coastal life of Dorset. It will also allow us to purchase additional equipment for beach clean volunteers who support us throughout the year. Thank you Southern Co-op!”
Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communications at Southern Co-op, said: “All of our local Wildlife Trusts are invaluable and, with their support, we have been able to increase the biodiversity at some of our grounds. We have also worked with them to clean up our beaches which is incredibly important in the fight to protect our marine life. Their campaigns to encourage our communities to get involved are inspirational and we are so pleased to see this donation will have such a special impact on our future."
About the Pioneer Awards
The Pioneer Awards are run by Federal Retail Trading Services, a collective of co-operative retail societies like Southern Co-op, who share their collective buying power. The Awards are designed to recognise and reward organisations which support Co-ops in pioneering a different way of doing business, and each organisation is able to nominate a local charity to receive a portion of the money raised by the group.
About Southern Co-op
Southern Co-op is a large, regional independent co-operative operating over 250 food and funeral branches across the south of England. Owned by its 140,000+ members, it has an annual turnover of over £450m and more than 4,000 colleagues.
Southern Co-op’s sustainable business approach underpins a commitment to providing a fair, fresh approach, for all. This is manifested through fundraising for local charities, supporting environmental and community owned organisations and working with local food producers.