OVER £415,000 has been awarded to Keighley-district good causes from a community fund in the past five years, it has been revealed.

And now more groups are being urged to seek support from the scheme, as new research shows that many grassroots organisations will face rising demand for their services in the coming months.

The cash distributed from the Co-op Local Community Fund in the Keighley area since 2016 has been shared between 187 good causes.

Beneficiaries have ranged from Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice Manorlands and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, to Scout groups and village halls.

When Co-op members buy own-brand products from food stores or some services, a percentage of what they spend goes to charitable causes.

According to a survey by the Co-op, 53 per cent of community causes have seen their funding decrease in the past 12 months. And three quarters expect demand for their services to increase – including a large proportion of groups that work to support mental wellbeing and young people and those tackling food poverty.

The research also spotlighted the resilience of groups in responding to the pandemic, with more than 70 per cent delivering their services in new ways and improving their digital skills. Ninety-five per cent said their project was helping the community’s response to the pandemic.

Rebecca Birkbeck, for the Co-op, said: “Our vision is ‘co-operating for a fairer world’ and it’s heartening to see this come to life in grassroots projects. Our Local Community Fund and support from members has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic and we want even more local groups to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Even with the easing of lockdown, communities will still need our help.

“This year, when a group applies for the Local Community Fund, we will also connect them to Co-operate (coop.co.uk/co-operate) – our online community centre – where they can come together and benefit from help and support from like-minded people and causes. This is an exciting development which shows the power of co-operation beyond funding.”

Groups wishing to apply for funding should go to coop.co.uk/causes for further information.

Applications close on May 30.