Your questions about our new strategy, answered

On 12 October we launched our bold, new strategy, ‘Building communities of the future together’. It was fantastic to see so many people join us online to hear about how we plan to work together over the next five years to create future, fair communities.  

We received some great questions from attendees, which we’ve answered in this blog.   

If you missed our launch event, or would like to watch it again, you can access the recording here or download our full strategy here.      

Please do email us if you have any more questions and sign up to our blog to stay up to date with our work.  

Let’s build communities of the future together.  

Questions about our new strategy 

I would love to hear about how the Carbon Innovation Fund fits within the new Co-op Foundation strategy. Are there plans to continue this stream of work in partnership with the Co-op, and do you expect applications to open in 2022? 

Our Carbon Innovation Fund fits within our environmental sustainability strand of our strategic priorities – it’s crucial for delivering on building sustainable communities of the future.  

We’re in the process of supporting partners funded through our first round of funding, to get their projects up and running as well as creating a learning community among our partners.  

We’ll be announcing another round of funding in partnership with Co-op in early February 2023. Sign up to our blog to be the first to hear about it.  

Questions about young people  

I would love to hear more about your approach to co-creating the strategy with young people!  

We involved a diverse group of almost 100 young people across the UK to help us co-create our Future Communities Vision. The six key characteristics of future communities that young people talked about have now become our six strategic priorities.  Our Head of Learning & Impact, Asimina, has written a blog all about how we co-created our strategy here.  

For any more questions about how we created our Future Communities Vision with diverse young people, please contact our Head of Learning & Impact, Asimina.  

Does this link up with Co-op’s Youth Mission – Peer Action Collective and #iwill Scotland ambassadors? 

We’re Co-op’s charity and we share a priority for delivering real change for, and with, young people.  

Specifically, we’ll be funding young people directly, some of which may come from the Co-op’s work with the Peer Action Collective and #iwill Scotland ambassadors. We’ll also look to fund young people involved in our funded partners’ work.  

Where we can, we’ll align closely with other Co-op initiatives to make sure we have a joint approach when funding a diverse range of young people and projects.  

One of the frustrations is that often the young people that join boards and focus groups etc. are so very far removed from the young people we actually support. There’s very little common ground. How will you avoid this? 

We want to address this point, starting with the creation of what we’re calling our Future Communities Collective.  The collective will be a pilot involving some of the young people who helped us create our Future Communities Vision. They will support the design and decision-making for our new Future Communities Fund.  

We’ll build on this initial pilot to create a broader collective that will work with us long-term to help deliver our strategy. Diversity of backgrounds and experiences will be key criteria for selecting the young people who will participate in the Future Communities Collective.  

Questions about our funding 

How will funding reach a diverse spread of young people?  

Our visioning process involved a diverse range of young people, which is something we felt was important. This was a great start, but we have more to do, and we’ll be continuing to involve young people in our work. We’ll do this through:  

  • Our Future Communities Collective to involve a young people from diverse backgrounds in designing our funds and helping us with funding decisions 
  • Funding young people directly through our range of partners who are already working with diverse young people  
  • Creating a way to find and work with young people who are doing amazing things in communities that we don’t already know about. There’s more work to do to understand how we’ll achieve this ambition, but we’re ready to get started!  

Does the Foundation accept unsolicited applications if they fit within the new strategic framework? 

We are limited due to our budget and resource, but we don’t want to miss opportunities from organisations aligned with our values, ways of working, and strategic priorities. So, please do email us if you think the work you’re doing is a good fit.  

How does a group make an initial application for future funding? 

Sign up to our blog to be the first to know when we launch new funding and how to apply. 

Are you still working with Afghan refugee children in schools/families?   

We are in the process of developing detailed funding priorities. Sign up to our blog to be the first to know when we launch new funding and how to apply. 

You can find out more about the work we’ve done so far to support refugees through our funding to Refugee Action here.  

Is it just charities who are eligible? Or other legal structures? 

This will depend on the fund. Sign up to our blog to be the first to know when we launch new funding and how to apply.  

Once we launch our new funds, we’ll provide more detailed criteria about eligibility, however we expect to fund a range of organisations, not just registered charities. 

Please remind us, what’s the charity income limit for organisations applying for funding?  

For our first round of the Future Communities Fund, we’ll be asking organisations with an annual turnover of £250,000 or less to apply.  

However, there will be another, very small-scale route to funding via unsolicited approaches. Very few organisations, will be funded in this way but it’s worth dropping us an email if the work you do aligns with our strategy.  

Not for profit organisations with a turnover of greater than £250k are eligible to apply for Co-op’s Local Community Fund, which prioritises locally focused organisations delivering projects for the benefit of their community. The fund will next be open to applications in Spring 2023. Head to for further details. 

Is there a route for projects that are a small part of a larger organisation, and completely standalone? 

Not via our upcoming funding opportunities, but possibly via a later round of funding, or as an unsolicited application. Again, sign up to our blog to be the first to know when we launch new funding.  

Will the new Future Communities Fund include supporting Young Carers (5-18)? 

Sign up to our blog and we will update you when our Future Communities Fund is due to launch. We will be able to provide much more detailed criteria about eligibility for this fund at that point.  

Do you talk to potential applicants at the pre-application stage?  

Sign up to our blog, and we’ll be able to provide more details once we have launched any new funding.  

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