A DOZEN of community groups have been given an early Christmas present after being rewarded in a shopping scheme.

Co-op's membership scheme has handed out £60,000 to organisations including Morts Astley Heritage Trust and Astley and Tyldesley Tennis Club, which will be upgrading their courts.

This is the latest round in the funding scheme which has been generated by more than 168,000 Co-op members in Greater Manchester.

The company has invested more than £130,000 in 43 groups in the area since the scheme was launched in September 2016.

Director of community engagement at the Co-op, Rebecca Birkbeck, said: “Since the launch of the local community fund our members have helped 12,000 organisations to make a positive difference in their neighbourhoods, and in the last 12 months alone we have invested £19m in local causes.

“The fund is now supporting a wide variety of local organisations, from village halls and support groups to education providers and neighbourhood watch schemes, all of which are helping to make the area a better, happier, and healthier place to live.”

Co-op members, who receive a five per cent reward for themselves with a further one per cent going to causes when they buy own-brand products, have a say in how the money is allocated.

They are encouraged to select the organisations they want to support online.