The Co-operative’s lasting legacy for young people with a learning disability

February 10, 2012

Young people across the UK with a learning disability have been given over £7 million opportunities to help to realise their potential as The Co-operative unveiled the total amount raised for its charity of the year during 2011.

The grand total reached £7,022, 866 and, the money raised by The Co-operative’s staff, members and customers will allow Mencap and sister charity ENABLE Scotland to launch ‘Inspire Me’ – a new project to provide activities and training that will give thousands of young people with a learning disability the chance to learn new skills and gain access to employment and volunteering opportunities in their communities.

Peter Marks with Austin Healey

Austin Healey, the former England rugby union player - and a Mencap celebrity ambassador - was on hand as The Co-operative announced the fundraising figure and, actors Sarah Jayne Dunn and Darren Langford also attended the celebration. The figure is the most ever raised by The Co-operative during one of its charity of the year campaigns and, is the highest figure received by Mencap from such a partnership.

Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative, said: “Eight out of ten children with a learning disability are bullied. Young people with a learning disability face prejudice every day and a lack of opportunities which can make life a desperate struggle.

“The Co-operative is a national brand, but our roots have always been in the community and, it is this shared commitment to community projects that sets us apart. This money will leave behind a lasting legacy for a generation of young people with a learning disability. I am thrilled to say that together, we have been able to take a massive stride towards creating a cultural shift in the way young people are viewed and treated in this country - a key objective of our commitment to “Inspiring Young People”.

Across the country, The Co-operative – which has a retail outlet in every postal region and operates businesses including food, financial services, pharmacy, legal services, funeralcare and farming – has seen its staff, members, customers and suppliers, who were central to the success of raising this amazing amount, put the fun into fundraising

A Santa Dash and abseil, cycle rides, marathons and even a charity single by an employee band featuring Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative, Peter Marks, on drums kept the money flowing in for this worthwhile cause during 2011.

Mark Goldring, Mencap’s Chief Executive, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support shown by everyone in The Co-operative Group, their fundraising efforts and generosity have made the partnership a great success. I would like to thank the staff, members and customers for helping to raise such a fantastic sum of money which will give thousands of young people with a learning disability the chance to change their future.”

Peter Marks presents the cheque with special guests 

Peter Scott, ENABLE Scotland’s Chief Executive, continued: “We have been astonished at the commitment shown by The Co-operative Group, employees, members and customers. The creativity and generosity of staff has been quite remarkable, and the money raised will give thousands of young people who have a learning disability the opportunity to build a brighter future. ENABLE Scotland would like to thank each and every person who has contributed over the course of the partnership.”

“Inspire Me” will work with local communities to change negative attitudes towards young people with a learning disability. Support will also be available for parents, families and carers with information events on issues including supported living, benefits and leisure activities.


Additional Information:

About The Co-operative Group: The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over six million consumers.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas. The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 106,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.  Further information is available at

The Co-operative’s Charity of the Year partnership with Mencap and ENABLE Scotland (2011) forms an integral part of The Co-operative's commitment to Inspiring Young People. Money raised by its supportive staff, members, customers and suppliers will give thousands of young people with a learning disability – across the UK - the opportunity to transform their lives by gaining the skills and confidence needed to play a more active part in society.

Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. It is also one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

ENABLE Scotland, is the leading charity for children and adults with learning disabilities in Scotland. It is a member-led organisation with local ENABLE branches made up of volunteers, mostly people with learning disabilities and their families and carers. It too campaigns for people with learning disabilities to live full and independent lives and provides services to allow people to live, work and take part in their communities.

Contact Information:

Andrew Torr
The Co-operative Group Press Office
Tel: 0161 827 5622
Mob: 07702 505551


Sonal Amin
Tel: 0207 696 5594


Dave Smith
The Co-operative Group Press Office
Tel: 0161 827 5614
Mob: 07702 152771