FINANCE NEWS: Co-op Bank plans disability fund to encourage take up

The Co-operative Bank is to set up a special disability fund to direct more of its charitable gifts and community investment after it emerged that disability groups make very few funding requests.

According to the bank's annual partnership report, it gave more than £1.1 million to charity last year through charitable gifts worth £344,000 and long-term "community partnerships

amounting to £694,000. Overall, community investment represented 3.1 per cent of the bank's pre-tax profits.

But the bank has identified that both disability groups and black and minority ethnic (BME) organisations do not usually ask the bank for grants.

Last year the Co-op set up a special £50,000 BME fund with the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester to ensure funding is available for appropriate requests.

During 2001, funding for BME groups increased by more than 100 per cent.

A separate disability fund will be set up later this year.

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