Future, fair communities: It’s in our hands

2022 was a landmark year for the Co-op Foundation. 

It saw the delivery of our first multi-million-pound Co-op partnership; the release of our new, five-year youth-led strategy; and the launch of our first ever fully unrestricted strategic grant-giving programme – the Future Communities Fund. 

It is a year to look back on with great pride. However, there’s something else that stands out for me. It’s not our funding. It’s not even our talented Foundation colleagues and Trustees who work so hard. It’s our partners, and the incredible work they do all over the UK. We’re humble enough to recognise that it is they who ‘do the doing’, and this year they’ve done so much more. 

Our 2022 Learning and Impact Report is, therefore, a celebration of this work. We reflect on their achievements through our blogs, stories and videos, and we share what we’ve learned together, too.  

I hope you enjoy our report. Remember that you can help our funding go even further by donating online or giving your Co-op Member Reward

Let’s build communities of the future together. 

2022 in detail 

It’s in our hands to build the future, fair communities imagined in our new strategy, and the story at the centre of our Learning & Impact Report 2022 brings this idea to life more than any other. 

Boxing Futures is one of our longest serving partners. Our most recent, unrestricted grant is helping them run the Chatterbox project so local young people can develop new skills and improve their mental and physical wellbeing. This not only aligns with our new strategy but also adds value to the Co-op’s own community work, proving we truly are stronger when we work together. 

Also featured this year is Fal Fishery CIC, funded through our new £3.5m Carbon Innovation Fund with the Co-op. This fund is tackling the climate crisis by building more sustainable communities and you can see the great job the team is doing in Cornwall in this guest blog and video

Elsewhere, learn how Mita Desai, CEO of the Young Trustees Movement, is using our unrestricted grants to make civil society more diverse and find out how our support for Refugee Action is building safer communities for asylum seekers, like Sami and Mohammad.  

And finally, we share updates from our Lonely Not Alone campaign and tell you how our partners like Depaul UK and #iwill are giving power back to young people. 

In total, we’re proud to have awarded £3.4m in 2022 across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and even globally. See this in detail in our funding map.


We’re a learning organisation and we’re committed to sharing that learning, too. Each of our partners’ stories, videos and guest blogs share learning that we hope will help other funders and community groups. 

It’s also part of an exciting new approach that sits at the centre of our ‘Building communities of the future together’ strategy, launched in October 2022. This strategy aims to: 

  • Develop a vision of future, fair communities in partnership with diverse young people. Read what we’ve done so far
  • Pioneer a distinctly co-operative way of funding, which focuses on unrestricted grant-giving and flexibility. 
  • Co-operating with others to increase our reach and deliver on Co-op’s vision of ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’. 

Listen to our podcast series to find out more about this piece of work.  

Our plans for 2023 

We’re at the very beginning of our journey to build communities of the future together. 

In 2023, we expect to award the first grants from our Future Communities Fund while also developing a second strategic fund that will see us award grants to young people directly for the first time.  

We’ll share everything we learn about co-operative, unrestricted grant-making and we’ll publish a Theory of Change that will direct us over the next few years.  

Finally, we’ll celebrate everything our partners achieve. They’re the ones really building communities of the future together.  

We couldn’t be in safer hands. 

This blog is part of our Digital Learning & Impact Report 2022. Head to our interactive webpage to read more of our highlights and learnings. Help us do even more in 2023 by donating online. Co-op Members can also give their Member Reward online or in the Co-op App. Every penny will help us build communities of the future together. 

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