The Co-operative Group has selected the British Red Cross as its charity partner for the next two years and hopes to raise several million pounds to help the charity tackle social isolation and loneliness across the UK.
The humanitarian charity was chosen by a vote among staff and its members, which took place between 22 June and 12 July.
A spokesman for the Co-operative said that no fundraising target had been set but it expected it to be a "multimillion-pound partnership".
The Co-operative’s previous charity partnership raised about £6m for Carers UK, the spokesman said. He said it didn’t expect the partnership with the Red Cross to raise as much because the Co-operative had reduced in size after the sell-off of its pharmacy and banking businesses.
The Co-operative has more than 70,000 staff and eight million members in the UK.
Money raised from the Co-operative’s fundraising activities will be used to provide care and support to thousands of people who experience isolation and loneliness. The Co-operative will also campaign on these issues.
The Co-operative and the British Red Cross have partnered before. In 1945, the Co-operative raised funds for the charity from sales of its own-brand Co-operative tea. The money raised was used to help vulnerable people in the UK and abroad in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said in a statement: "We are all absolutely delighted to become the new charity partner of the Co-operative.
"No one should be suffering alone, and a partnership with the Co operative will help us to reach thousands of vulnerable people."
Richard Pennycook, chief executive of the Co-operative, said: "This is what the Co-operative difference is all about. We are standing up for what matters to our members and colleagues so that we can campaign for change and a better society.
"Loneliness is indiscriminate. It’s not just about older generations – it can affect anyone at any stage of their life and regardless of circumstances."