The Carers Trust is not one of the usual suspects for a charity of the year partnership. In both its present or past incarnations - the trust was formed a year ago by the merger of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care - it has always found top corporate partnerships closed to it.
"We've always done well in the general corporate partnership area," says Kim Britten, director of fundraising at the trust. "But we've never been adopted as one of the traditional charities of the year." But now it has - it was chosen by the Co-operative's staff and members, beating Scope in a final head-to-head vote by 60 per cent to 40 per cent. The partnership with the retailer was launched by the pop singer Jade Ewen of the Sugababes.
"We managed to convince the Co-operative that caring affects many of its staff," says Britten. "Many people realised that they, or their parents, were actually carers."
The trust is a newcomer to charity of the year partnerships, so it has recruited a team to cope with the demand. Six regional fundraisers, an account manager and a fundraising executive have joined for a year.
The fundraising target for the partnership is £5m - although the Co-op's previous partnership with the learning disability charity Mencap raised £7.2m in 2011.
"At a stretch, we would hope to surpass the target, as we did with Mencap," says Laura Vickery, community project manager at the Co-operative Group. For the Carers Trust partnership, the Co-operative is pushing for more local fundraising, with the proceeds going to projects in specific localities.