We're pioneering a distinctly co-operative way of funding 

Who we fund   

Our funding brings to life our youth-led Future Communities Vision of fair and co-operative communities in 10 years’ time. It also helps us deliver on Co-op’s vision of ‘co-operating for a fairer world’.  

We listen to, invest, and learn from:  

  • A diverse range of young people who’ll be the leaders, co-operators, organisers and activists in these future communities.
  • Organisations working to bring future communities to life.  
  • Organisations that need support when unpredictable events in the ‘here and now’ threaten their ability to build communities of the future. 

Learn more about our Future Communities Vision

How we fund

We’re Co-op’s charity. We believe co-operation is at the heart of strong communities and this makes us a different kind of funder. 

Co-operative values are reflected throughout our funding, from applications and grant-making, to learning and celebrating. This builds on work we’ve already started to become a more flexible funder, and to develop more equal and trusting partnerships 

We will follow these seven principles as we build communities of the future together: 

  1. Participatory 

We will involve people from the communities we work with in decisions about how to use our funds. We’ll draw on the co-operative values of democracy, self-help and self-responsibility to help address the power imbalance present in traditional grant-making. 

  1. Unrestricted 

We invest in organisations that can bring our Future Communities Vision to life. We make unrestricted funding available, giving organisations the power to decide how best to use these funds to build their communities’ future.  

  1. Looking to the long-term 

Building the communities that young people want to be part of takes time, so we invest in organisations over longer timeframes.  

Long-term funding is a way we can demonstrate the co-operative value of solidarity with our partners and communities and help encourage social responsibility. Our funds may vary in the length of grants we make, but all would be designed to support long-term work to build communities of the future.  

  1. Trusting 

We focus on understanding partners and their work in a positive, transparent and trusting way. We are as flexible as possible with our funding, creating maximum freedom and control for our funded partners, so they can choose how best to ensure their community is ready for the future. 

  1. Accessible 

The size, background or leadership of an organisation should not be a barrier to accessing funding. We don’t exclude anyone based on how we ask them to apply for funding, how they report back to us or how they evaluate their work.  

We proactively encourage applications from small and traditionally less funded groups, particularly those that face systemic barriers. We strive to enable organisations to access funding, for example, video applications via smartphones. 

  1. Supportive and strengthening 

In addition to funding, we provide partners with other kinds of support. We’re developing a funder-plus model that provides partners with access to an enhanced range of support, such as organisational development opportunities.  

  1. Facilitate co-operation 

No person or organisation can build their community’s future alone. Where we see opportunities for organisations and people to build together, we do what we can to foster co-operation. We actively support new partnerships, encouraging local connections and collaborations, and links between local and national organisations 

Our strategic priorities

We will help to create: 

  • Prosperous communities with access to opportunity
  • Safe communities
  • Diverse, equitable and inclusive communities
  • Healthy communities
  • Sustainable communities
  • Communities that prioritise youth activism, shared power and transparent governance

Read more about who we fund currently on 360Giving.

Head back to the main menu to check out the live Funds we’re working on with our partners.