The Co-operative Bank celebrates 20 years of its Customer Donation Fund by hitting £1.1 million milestone

2 November 2023

4 min read

  • The Co-operative Bank is celebrating 20 years of its Customer Donation Fund
  • Since the fund was set up in 2003, the bank has donated over £1.1 million to more than 1,000 non-profit organisations, including £100,000 in 2023 alone
  • Through the fund, the bank awards money to charities and local community groups that are Co-operative Bank Community Directplus customers
  • The Customer Donation Fund is providing much-needed support to charities during the cost of living crisis, with 81% finding that demand for their services has increased compared to a year ago.*

Award-winning charity banking provider**, The Co-operative Bank, is celebrating 20 years of its Customer Donation Fund by donating £100,000 in 2023 to a wide-range of local causes across the UK, from refugee support groups to climate co-operatives. This brings the total donations to £1.1 million since the fund was established 20 years ago.

The Customer Donation Fund is a key part of The Co-operative Bank's commitment to supporting local communities and charitable causes, providing grants to Community Directplus account customers for projects across the UK. Each account holder is able to apply for up to £1,000 from the fund, with applications assessed twice a year.

A Community Directplus account offers registered charities, community interest companies, community benefit societies, co-operatives and credit unions access to ethical and free everyday banking.

The £1.1 million donated since 2003 demonstrates The Co-operative Bank’s commitment to supporting registered charities and this is reflected in the fact that it has been awarded 'Best Charity Banking Provider' by Business Moneyfacts eight years in a row.*

Hertfordshire-based Community Interest Company, Climate Explorers, is one of the many organisations to benefit from the Customer Donation Fund.

The group aims to raise awareness of climate solutions through YouTube videos, eco events and educational workshops. The recent donation from The Co-operative Bank enabled Climate Explorers to purchase podcast equipment to develop their ‘Mind the Green Space’ podcast, which promotes sustainable action.

Isaac Kenyon, Co-Founder and CEO of Climate Explorers CIC, commented:

"The generous donation made by the Customer Donation Fund has enabled us to share inspiring eco-adventure stories at Climate Explorers. Through our podcasts, we inspire sustainable action, ignite a passion for eco-project volunteering, and emphasise the importance of connecting with nature.

“One of the reasons that we chose The Co-operative Bank as our business bank was because our values are so closely aligned. Together, we are making a meaningful difference and building a more sustainable and conscious world.”

Gary McDermott, Director of Corporate and Strategic Development at The Co-operative Bank, explained:

“We’re proud to have supported so many charities through the Customer Donation Fund over the last 20 years, but particularly during the challenging economic period of late.

“With 81% of charities finding that demand for their services has increased compared to a year ago*, it’s vital that we support organisations across the country who play such an integral role in driving positive change in our communities.”

Applications for the next round of funding are now open and Community Directplus customers can fill in an application form here.

Those interested in opening a Community Directplus accounts should visit this webpage for more information.***


Notes to editors

*Statistic taken from Charities Aid Foundation: Cost of living- Charities still struggling to meet demand and cover costs (

**Award details: Awards | Ethical Business Banking | The Co-operative Bank

*** Business account terms and conditions: business-account-terms-and-conditions.pdf (

The Co-operative Bank Customer Donation Fund is available to all existing Community Directplus account holders. The fund grows in relation to the deposits made.

Since 2003 The Co-operative Bank has donated over £1m to over 1,000 organisations. Deadlines for applications are at the end of March and September every year. Donations range from £500 – £1,000 and applications are judged twice a year in April and October. If successful, the money is paid directly into the organisations Community Directplus account shortly after.

Funding can be awarded to the same recipient on more than one occasion.

For more information on The Co-operative Bank’s Customer Donation Fund, please visit:

For more information please contact:

The Co-operative Bank press office

07734 002 983

About The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Bank p.l.c. provides a full range of banking products and services to retail and SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) customers and is committed to values and ethics in line with the principles of the co-operative movement.

In 1992, The Co-operative Bank took the pioneering step to become the first UK bank to launch a customer-led Ethical Policy, which gives the Bank’s customers a say on the ethical issues that are important to them, and how the Bank could help. These answers form the basis of our Ethical Policy, shaping the Bank’s ethical commitments, the way in which it will use customer’s money and the issues it will campaign for. Since 1992, the Ethical Policy remains unique in the UK and has been updated six times in consultation with the Bank’s customers, to reflect their changing priorities.

About Climate Explorers

Climate Explorers is a community interest company that aims to highlight climate solutions, raise environmental awareness, and promote physical and mental wellbeing through eco-adventures in the great outdoors.

The organisation supports local communities, organisations and businesses by providing advice and guidance on sustainable initiatives and innovations. This guidance and advice comes from the production of educational content about climate solutions they have explored and uncovered across the world, to increase awareness, collaborative implementation, and innovation of these solutions.

They believe that awareness and education are key to driving funding and connecting stakeholders to the information needed to enhance commitments, engagement and scaling up of these initiatives to make a real impact. This will then help accelerate the measures required for implementing climate solution projects globally to build an economy that is more adaptable and resilient to climate change.


The Co-operative Bank Press Office

Landline: 0151 271 1985

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