Supporting local communities through our Customer Donation Fund

We’ve always believed that doing good and doing good business should go hand in hand. As the original ethical bank built on co-operative values, we always have, and always will continue to help build stronger communities. We know the important role that our customers play in their local area, and we know it’s the individuals and local initiatives that really make a difference to their local communities and the people that live in them.

As part of our range of Business Banking products, our Community Directplus Current Account not only gives registered charities, community interest companies, co-operatives and credit unions an ethical way to bank for free, but also the opportunity to apply for funding from our Customer Donation Fund twice a year.

For every £100 increase in collective balances held in Community Directplus accounts, we will add 20p to the Customer Donation Fund, with a minimum of £5,000 being awarded twice a year. To date, we have supported over a thousand organisations, with over £935,000 of funding provided to a whole range of projects. In 2020, our Customer Donation Fund contributed almost £100,000 of funding to support 105 community projects, to help with their on-going work in their local communities during the pandemic.

The projects that we have supported span across the whole of the UK and are really making a positive difference to their local communities. From supporting positive mental health, to collecting surplus food and delivering it to the most vulnerable, to supporting disabled children to build their confidence, to equipping young people with the skills they need for a better digital future, community banking really does make a difference.

Now more than ever, the world needs people with purpose. Here are some of our customers’ stories.

Soundcastle, London

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Soundcastle run long-term creative music-making programmes to support positive mental health in local communities, reducing loneliness, enhancing wellbeing and resilience, and keeping the community connected.

They work within and alongside communities in community centres, social housing estates, services for adults facing mental health challenges and homelessness and safe houses for young mothers. They also train music, health and social care practitioners to run music activities which promote wellbeing.

They are going to use the money from the Customer Donation Fund to support their 'Musical Beacons' inclusion project which is supporting vulnerable and isolated families, and those facing mental health challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Active Impact, Gloucestershire

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Active Impact work to create fun and inclusive opportunities for disabled young people to build their confidence and to be included within their wider community by working with them, their families, volunteers and the organisations that support them. They are going to use the money from the Customer Donation Fund to help run the 'Of Course We Can' programme of inclusive events enabling disabled young people to enjoy new challenges including a wide range of arts and leisure activities alongside their non-disabled peers. These events are designed to offer everyone the chance to learn new skills and interests, whilst also being exciting, aspirational and fun. They allow all young people, regardless of their ability, to mix and develop friendships, helping to reduce the isolation many disabled children experience.

The Digital Life Skills Company CIC, Cheshire

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Digital Life Skills works to give children and young people a better digital future by empowering them to navigate the growing online world. Children may be digital natives, but they often lack the skills to accurately evaluate what they see online – from conspiracy theories and hoaxes to hateful or misleading content. Their learning and well-being can suffer, but many parents and teachers feel increasingly ill-equipped to help.

Digital Life Skills delivers engaging interactive workshops in Cheshire, teaching children and parents how to make sense of the vast quantity of information and misinformation, to find and recognise trusted sources. The money from the Customer Donation Fund is being used to develop resources for schools to embed digital media literacy skills in the classroom and reach more pupils more quickly.

Feeding Gainsborough, Lincolnshire

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Feeding Gainsborough collect surplus food from local supermarkets, businesses and growers and give it to those most in need. This food is distributed through schools, a pay as you feel market stall and their Community Pantry. Their network of local community food champions are able to get the food to those most in need as quickly as possible, as well as offering dedicated, community based locations for those who need additional support.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, they have been working hard to make sure no-one goes hungry in their local community, and have provided nearly 80 tonnes of food for over 450 families in the area. They are going to use the money from the Customer Donation Fund to train 12 new volunteers to distribute food packages to the most vulnerable in society, to address the impact of food poverty, but also support their local community to improve their financial and life circumstances.

Apply for the Customer Donation Fund

All Community Directplus account holders can apply for up to £1000 from the Customer Donation Fund to support special projects and fundraising activities.

The closing dates for applications are in March and September. We assess applications in April and October.

Customer Donation Fund application form (PDF)

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