Oxfordshire charitable group receives recognition from the Co-operative Group as part of National Emergencies Trust #NETCharityChamps campaign

Oxfordshire-based community action group, Sustainable Wantage, has received recognition for its efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a nationwide appreciation campaign by the National Emergencies Trust.

The Charity Champs campaign, which has been backed by a host of celebrities and companies on social media, celebrates the efforts of frontline charities and groups, like Sustainable Wantage, that have worked tirelessly to support their communities for over a year now.

A video supporting the campaign features HRH The Duke of Cambridge, who is Royal Patron of the National Emergencies Trust, as well as Alesha Dixon, Pixie Lott and many others who’ve lent their support to its Coronavirus Appeal over the last year. While Fearne Cotton, Stephen Fry and many others have posted messages of support on social media.

Sustainable Wantage is an environmental group that focuses on activities that aim to protect and improve the natural environment to build a stronger, more resilient community in Wantage. The Mix community space, run by Sustainable Wantage, offers a range of sustainable projects including a resource bank and repair cafe. They have been using funding from the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal, which launched in March last year, to collect and distribute surplus food to local people, saving more than 38 tonnes of food from going to waste, through their Community Fridge programme.

As part of the Charity Champs campaign, Jo Harvey, manager of the Mix Community Space at Sustainable Wantage, took part in a video chat with Peter Batt, Divisional Managing Director at Co-op - the retailer had made an incredible donation of more than £1.5million to the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal last year.

In the video, Ms Harvey shares their champion moment of when they were able to turn the small community fridge into a food delivery service that supported 270 local households during the first lockdown alone last year. It was a community effort, Ms Harvey explains, ‘‘All the volunteers in all the different projects stepped up. One of the volunteer drivers was the treasurer, one lady ran the craft club. The possibilities that are involved when people come together and do things are fantastic.”

Mr Batt, who expresses his awe at Sustainable Wantage’s efforts in the video, said: “I’m overwhelmed by the work you do, it’s absolutely fantastic. I think the pandemic has brought communities together in many ways. Making a difference locally is at the heart of our Co-op and by working together we are all stronger and can create real value and make a tangible difference to those issues that matter most locally.”

Sustainable Wantage is one of more than 149 projects to receive a grant from the Coronavirus Appeal through Oxfordshire Community Foundation. To-date the National Emergencies Trust’s Appeal has raised £97million and more than £94million of this has reached communities across the four nations.

Mhairi Sharp, CEO of the National Emergencies Trust, said: “For more than a year now people in charitable groups all around the UK have put others’ needs before their own to help those hard-hit by the pandemic. The creativity and compassion they’ve shown in the face of such difficult times is truly inspirational. We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and thank charity champs like Sustainable Wantage and we’re so pleased that supporters like the Co-op have been able to join us.”

To watch the Co-op and Sustainable Wantage Charity Champs Chat visit:

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