Southern Co-op has announced a new fund to combat the rising retail crime.
The £100,000 Safer Neighbourhood Fund will support community programmes in an effort to tackle the causes of crime.
“Our colleagues deserve to work in a safe environment free from harm and the fear of harm. We hope this new funding will be a step towards achieving this,” said Gareth Lewis, Southern Co-op’s loss prevention & security manager.
Lewis said the violent crime targeted at shops is only getting worse despite the amount of time and money spent on this.
“Every retailer is affected and we’ve personally seen a 69% increase in crime across our estate from 2018-2019.”
The funding will support local charities who are delivering innovative programmes that help residents to build a secure future and reduce offending.
Five areas across the south of England – Portsmouth, Southampton, South London, Bournemouth and Bristol – have been identified by the regional co-operative to benefit from the funding.
Expressions of interest for funding will be open for an eight week window from Monday 13 January.
Charities which tackle the underlying causes of offending behaviours, increase opportunities for employability skill development, or overcome specific, practical and personal barriers are encouraged to apply.
“There are numerous reasons why people steal from our stores and there are charities out there that already do some great work in helping those affected by issues such as drugs, homelessness, poverty and abuse. We hope this funding will give them the boost they need to make an even greater difference to people’s lives,” said Jessica Hughes, Southern Co-op’s community investment manager.