Co-op Local Community Fund: Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham receives £200 for project offering free or discounted tickets to help combat loneliness in the community

Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham is looking at ways to distribute free or discounted tickets to help combat loneliness in the community.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 2:52 pm

The project has benefited from a grant of £200 from the Co-op Local Community Fund, which aims to support grassroots causes by donating a portion of the money members spend on selected branded products and services.

Nicky Thornton, marketing manager at Ropetackle said the arts brought a lot of joy to people and were a great way of getting people together.

She added: “The pandemic has heightened isolation and loneliness, for older people who may still be unable to see their families and for children who have spent a good deal of time out of school and away from their friends.

Jamie Lashmar, store manager at Co-op in Shoreham High Street, presenting the cheque to Nicky Thornton, marketing manager at Ropetackle Arts Centre

“Things that normally connect people, like watching a show, a film or a live concert with others, were taken away as arts venues were closed for many months.

“Knowing how much joy and escapism the arts bring, we will work with local organisations to identify those who may benefit from free or discounted tickets. The funding will help this happen.

“Like the Co-op, our community ethos is very strong. During the winter lockdown, our volunteers used the Ropetackle kitchen to make home-cooked meals for vulnerable members of the community. We have an amazing network of people who will drop anything to help those in need and very generous supporters who stepped up to fund this initiative.

“We are extremely grateful to the local store manager, Jamie Lashmar, and the Co-op customers for their kind generosity and look forward to entertaining those for whom a free ticket to a live show will make a big difference.”

Co-op members are encouraged to pick a local cause to support each year, from a selection that are building stronger, more resilient communities.

Run almost entirely by volunteers, Ropetackle is a lively entertainment hub at the heart of the Adur district and it is known for its great music, films, comedy, theatre, children’s shows, talks and workshops.

It also hosts local activity groups and meetings, and cinema afternoons for those with dementia or suffering from memory loss.

Rebecca Birkbeck, director of community and shared value, said: “Our Co-op vision is ‘co-operating for a fairer world’ and it’s heartening to see this come to life in these grassroots projects, like Ropetackle.

“Our Local Community Fund and support from our members has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic and we want even more local groups to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Findings from the survey, our own Community Wellbeing Index, members and colleagues has shown us that we can all come together to make the world a fairer place. Even with the easing of lockdown, the communities across the UK will still need our help.

“Members are encouraged to select a cause each round, allowing them to support grassroots causes that they really care about.

“This year, when a group applies for the Local Community Fund, we will also connect them to Co-operate, our online community centre, where they can benefit from help and support from like-minded people and causes. This is an exciting development which shows the power of co-operation beyond funding.”