Business Charity Awards: Community Impact - Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society with Little Havens Children's Hospice and others

For a business that has provided vital support to a charitable project in a specific locality

What is the background?

Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society has been working in partnership with the communities of Essex for 150 years. It supports a series of initiatives to achieve social change in a number of areas.

What are the projects?

Projects include efforts to support local farms and producers under the banner The Only Way Is Loca, fundraising for the society's charity of the year, Little Havens Children’s Hospice, and donating money to more than 330 local groups. Chelmsford Star has also awarded vouchers to individuals throughout the year as spot prizes and given away baskets of shopping every week to help people's finances.

Chelmsford Star’s funeral business runs free bereavement support groups across Essex, open to everyone, not just clients. Trained counsellors are offered free of charge to those needing additional one-to-one support after a loss.

Co-op Streets provides a means for neighbours to introduce themselves to each other, encouraging conversation in communities where people are becoming increasingly isolated. Chelmsford Star also set up the Doorstep Challenge, an initiative that encourages people to anonymously donate shopping to someone who might not be able to afford it.

What has it achieved?

In its 150th year, Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society has donated more than £6,000 to local charities, £2,000 in spot prizes, £800 in free shopping, £1,000 in raffle donations and an estimated £40,000 to Little Havens for the running of the hospice. Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society has also run 100 coffee mornings, 60 support groups and dozens of fundraising and community-improvement events.

Finalists

Aldi with the RSPB

Prudential with Greenhouse Sports

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