The supermarket chain Morrisons has set up a foundation that it hopes will eventually distribute more than £2m in grants each year, and has begun awarding funds.
The Morrisons Foundation registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales at the end of January and with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator last month. It will provide match funding of employees’ fundraising efforts and grants to a wide range of different charities and voluntary groups.
A spokesman for the supermarket said it had already given out a number of grants, including one in the region of £20,000 to a project in Scotland that works on youth employment in the fishing industry, yet to be formally launched, and £5,000 for a project run by Bolton Dementia Support.
The foundation has also given out £15,000 in match-funding to charities chosen by employees, the spokesman said.
He did not say what the maximum or minimum size of grants would be, but said the foundation would soon launch a new website to handle all grant applications electronically rather than through the existing paper form that must be submitted by post.
He said the supermarket expected the charity to eventually have income and spending of more than £2m a year.
He said: "The charity is being funded through a number of sources. Most notably, the proceeds of the sales of carrier bags from Scotland and Wales go to the foundation. This income stream is ring-fenced, so money raised from the sale of bags in Scotland will be spent on charities benefiting people in Scotland."
Compulsory charging for plastic carrier bags came into force in Wales in October 2011 and in Scotland in October 2014. The levy is set at a minimum of 5p.
The Morrisons Foundation will also take income from the supermarket’s clothes recycling bank and 6p from the sale of each charity scratchcard sold in its stores – the main beneficiary of these scratchcards is the cancer charity Sue Ryder.
The charity’s five-person board is chaired by Martyn Jones, group services director of the supermarket chain. Jones also sits on the boards of the Early Intervention Foundation and the Institute of Grocery Distribution.