The Community Cashback Grant Scheme from SPAR NI, that has been labelled “lifesaving” by last year’s winner, has returned for a second year.

Officially, SPAR NI introduced the grants when community groups and charities felt the huge financial hit of lockdown in 2020, and in 2022, SPAR UK adopted the scheme and gave away £100,000 to community initiatives in every part of the UK.

Last year’s NI winner, the Community Rescue Service in Coleraine, benefitted from SPAR NI’s £10,000 grant, which District Officer Barry Torrens described as a life saving benefit for the organisation, and the hundreds of people who need their services each year.

Barry explained; “We were delighted to be awarded with the £10,000 grant last year as it ensures that we can expand our services. It means additional modern search equipment, a more efficient service and more training for our teams, which ultimately means we are able to save more lives. Quite literally, this grant is life saving and enables us to carry out comprehensive searches and provide a vital service to communities across Northern Ireland.”

From 01 February, shoppers can apply for a grant for an organisation or charity they feel deserves funding. All applicants need to do is share details of the exceptional contribution a local organisation has made to their community, and what the grant would be put towards.

Applications will run until 15 March 2023 via and successful candidates will be contacted by early May 2023.

Alongside the Community Rescue Service, North Coast World Earth and Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues were also awarded £5,000 and £2,000 grants respectively, while The Hygiene Bank, D’Sign Arts and Listening Ear were awarded £1,000 each to continue the valued work they do in their communities.

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group which owns SPAR in Northern Ireland commented; “SPAR stores operate at the heart of communities across Northern Ireland, and our store teams engage with community groups and organisations, charities, schools and playgroups on a daily basis. They all want the best for their communities and we are committed to nurturing our neighbourhoods.

“Awarding the grant to the Community Rescue Service last year just goes to show what a real difference grants like this make to those bringing essential and lifesaving services to their communities and beyond. We visited the team and accompanied them on a rescue training mission, which allowed us to show just how much work goes into keeping services like this going, and the specialist equipment they need. It is fantastic to bring that opportunity to more initiatives for another year.”

A video showing the training mission can be viewed via SPAR NI’s YouTube channel.

The grants, which will collectively be valued at £100,000, are available for all geographical regions in the UK, and successful applicants will be visited and awarded their grant from their local SPAR NI representative.

The top 100 shortlisted charities will then have a chance to be showcased across SPAR NI’s social channels and website for a single month, giving them even more valued exposure and amplification to their local communities, alongside the SPAR Community Cashback Campaign.

The 2023 campaign will be supported by PR, digital amplification opportunities, and more promotion in SPAR stores with POS and SPAR Radio.