Christmas came early for causes across Tynedale thanks to six-figure festive funding boost raised by local Co-op stores.

Hexham Co-op raised a total of £102,000 which will be shared by 21 organisations including Hexham First School Early Years Outdoor Area, the Friends of St Mary’s First School PTA, and the Torch Centre.

This is the latest round of pay outs from the fund generated by over 48,000 Co-op members in Northumberland, and means overall the Co-op has invested £220,000 in 68 groups in Hexham since the membership scheme launched in September 2016.

In Prudhoe, the Dragon Tale Theatre Group, Eastwood Park Pavillion and Prudhoe Brownies all benefited from a £32,526.77 funding boost, raised by the local Co-op.

The Bellingham branch raised more than £9,228 raised for Bellingham brownies, the town hall and Wark Sports Club.

Co-op members received a five per cent reward with a further one per cent going to local causes when they buy own-brand products. They are also able to have a say in how the money is allocated, and are encouraged to select the organisations they wish to support online.

Rebecca Birkbeck, director of community engagement at the Co-op, 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 Tynedale a better, happier, and healthier place to live.”

The Co-op has 4.65 million active members, including 1,800,000 recruited since the new scheme began.