Chief Executive - Groundwork UK
11 Oct 2017
How money from carrier bags funds thousands of projects locally with Groundwork UK and Tesco's Bags of Help.
My weekly shop now has an additional ritual attached – finding out which three local projects will benefit from Bags of Help funding. I’m not alone. £23 million votes were cast, in the last round, by Tesco customers to determine which projects would benefit most.
On my travels, I’m also beginning to see plaques appearing denoting the worthy winners. From polytunnels on community allotments, to playgrounds in local parks. 8,000 projects across Britain have benefitted from £37 million of funding generated through the sale of 5p carrier bags and 10p bags for life.
Ongoing evaluation of the programme shows that completed projects are already having a big impact. The money helps to buy equipment and resources, make improvements to community buildings, develop outdoor spaces or run events to bring the people together. We've found that projects have increased volunteering and community cohesion. While also contributing to the health and wellbeing of people of all ages and backgrounds.
I’m incredibly proud that Groundwork is Tesco’s partner in delivering Bags of Help. We’ve been helping people transform their neighbourhoods and improve their lives for more than 35 years. Our experience tells us that if communities are given the right help and support, then they can achieve great things. Projects driven and owned by local communities stand the test of time. Groundwork helps to empower local communities.
Our priority is to make sure the funds generated get to where they’re needed and that the projects they support deliver maximum benefit for local communities. It’s a complex task: we need to make sure the scheme is publicised, deal with enquiries, assess submissions and award the funds. We handle more than 1,700 projects that Tesco customers vote for in over 2,500 stores, every two months.
We have the systems, staff and safeguards to make that all run smoothly. However, we also want to make sure support is available where people need it most, on their doorstep. That’s why some of the money raised is used to support our network of local ‘enablers’. These experienced community workers help groups with the application process, advise on the best way of delivering projects and support Tesco’s own 'Community Champions' with judging panels, local events, volunteering and publicity. Together with our partner’s greenspace scotland we can draw on the support of more than 60 enablers based in every part of Britain.
We know from our research that more people would do more to help their community if the right support was available. We also know that in many areas local people are having to find new ways of sustaining valued community services. Bags of Help is making a huge difference on both fronts.