A voluntary group providing support to families with young children is among the causes to benefit from a regional community fund.

Members of the Co-operative Group regularly donate part of their dividend payments directly to its Community Fund.

In 2012, the fund shared £95,000 between community groups and projects in Essex and Hertfordshire.

Home-Start Witham, Braintree and Halstead has received £2,000 from the fund, which will go towards providing IT equipment for the group.

Volunteers from Home-Start provide support, friendship and practical help in an attempt to prevent family crisis and breakdown.

Other groups to have benefitted from the fund in the past year include the Witham Allstars Majorettes.

Paul Cranfield, The Co-operative’s regional secretary, said: “It’s a scheme we’re very proud of, not only because it gives us the chance to thank members for shopping with us, but because so many people do choose to give something back to the local community.

“This year’s fantastic total of over £95,000 reflects the growth we are seeing in our membership levels.”

For more information about Home-Start, call 01376 519101 or email homestart.wbh@btconnect.com

Visit co-operative.coop/communityfund for a Community Fund application form