We are the Co-op's Charity

The Co-op Foundation helps disadvantaged communities work together to make things better.

How we're funded

The Foundation was set up by the Co-op with an endowment fund that covers all our day-to-day running costs. This means that 100% of money donated goes directly to our community projects. More information, including recent annual reports and accounts, can be found on our Charity Commission page.

What we do

We've set 3 goals for the next 3 years.

To champion young people’s ability to contribute positively to their communities and help strengthen their sense of belonging.

View our projects

To invest in disadvantaged communities’ capacity to overcome social, economic or environmental challenges.

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To build our reputation as a trusted charity with a co-operative difference, uniting with others to make sustainable impact in communities.

2017 - 2019 Strategy

The Trustees

The Co-op appoints our Board of Trustees, who include Co-op colleagues, elected members and externally recruited charity sector leaders.

  • Jamie Ward-Smith (Chair)


    A social entrepreneur known for innovation in volunteerism and digital transformation, Jamie is a passionate advocate for how technology can enable community change. He co-founded Do-it.org, the UK’s largest digital volunteering service, which he ran for 8 years. He is currently Chair of Vivo Life. Previous roles include founder and CEO of Red Foundation, Assistant Director (Community Participation) at the Home Office Active Communities Directorate, and Marketing and Communications Director for online charity YouthNet UK (now known as The Mix).

  • Saleem Chowdhery

    Director of Group Internal Audit

    Saleem is the Co-op’s Director of Group Internal Audit. Throughout his career he has supported Boards and senior executives to deliver through periods of significant business transformation, as a trusted, objective advisor offering insightful solutions. He has worked in audit, risk and finance roles at firms including Morrison’s, BAA, Sears Group and KPMG. He also advises a local faith-based community project. He has a particular interest in developing opportunities for Co-op colleague volunteers to enhance the Foundation’s impact in communities.

  • Dan Crowe

    National Members’ Council Member

    Dan is a professional actor and a lifelong co-operator, with a background in policy, research, communications and project management. He is an elected member of the Co-op’s National Members’ Council, representing the London region as well as serving as Vice-President for co-operative performance, democratic processes and member voice. He is a champion of innovative and accessible education and training that promotes the co-operative difference, and support for local co-operative, self-help and mutual aid initiatives in the communities where the Co-op trades.

  • Sheila Jane Malley

    Trustee of the Association of Charitable Foundations

    Sheila Jane was Director of Grant Making and Policy for BBC Children in Need until 2016. She has served on Boards of numerous other funders and is currently a Trustee of the Association of Charitable Foundations and Rosa, the fund for women and girls. An advocate of community development approaches that bring people together to generate solutions to local needs, she has applied this perspective to her extensive grantmaking experience, both in Northern Ireland (where she lives) and across the UK.

  • Andy Phelps


    Andy is the Foundation’s Treasurer, bringing a strong commercial background as well as his previous experience as Non-Executive Director of a trade association, to lead the Board in providing effective oversight on financial matters. He joined the Co-op in 2015 as Director of Trading - Grocery Staples and Non-Food, having previously worked at Sainsbury’s for 12 years, where his various roles included sourcing cause-related marketing products for a major charity partnership.

  • Sarah Woodcock

    Sarah is the Founder and CEO of The Kids Network, a grassroots charity building mentoring connections between children and young professionals in London. She has significant experience in the strategy and delivery of a number of programmes at national level. Prior to founding The Kids Network, Sarah developed capacity building projects for UK Youth and Save the Children on topics such as employability, social action, digital, literacy and safeguarding. She has been a mentor for the past four years and describes it as the ‘best use of her time’.

  • Shane Brogan

    Shane has an extensive background supporting youth charities, activists and volunteers. He worked for five years in the youth sector in Northern Ireland, supporting groups in some of the most disadvantaged communities to deliver programmes that empowered and engaged young people. He is an elected member of the Co-op’s National Members’ Council and serves on the Council’s Governance and Member Voice Committees. Shane is also Membership Manager of the Co-operative Party, which campaigns for a more co-operative way of doing politics.

  • Sharon Jones

    With more than 15 years’ experience in grant making, Sharon is a passionate advocate for investing in people’s potential to build strong, vibrant communities. As former Head of Funding at the Big Lottery Fund, she developed innovative programmes and managed a network of local teams across England. She has actively worked with other funders to address societal issues such as complex safeguarding and youth unemployment. Sharon now runs her own company continuing to support the growth of social value organisations, particularly with a focus on using sport for change.

The Team

Get in touch

For general enquiries, email foundation@coop.co.uk. If you have a media enquiry, email andy.mortimer@coop.co.uk or call 07702 603516.

We are no longer accepting funding applications for projects tackling youth loneliness. Please follow our blog for more updates.

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