MORE than two dozen charities in Stirling and beyond have benefitted from an early Christmas gift this week.

The Co-op is giving out a share of £50,000 to 26 organisations, including Forth Valley Disability Sport and the 3rd Bridge of Allan Guides.

The money came from the chain's local community fund – members who buy own-branded products from food stores of a funeral plan earn themselves a five per cent reward and one per cont for a local good cause of their choice.

Rufus Olins, director of community and campaigns at the Co-op, said: “It’s great to be delivering an early Christmas present to those communities and individuals that need it most.

“Making a positive contribution and making great things happen locally has been at the heart of The Co-op’s purpose since 1844, and the local community fund is a good modern example of this.

“Along with our members, we’re proud to be making a difference to hundreds, if not thousands, of local lives.

“Since the scheme launched Co-op members have helped to raise an amazing £20 million for 8,000 local causes nationally, but we want to do more, so the more people shop, the more good causes can earn.

“However, this is not just about giving money, it is about developing relationships with good causes in local communities, and over the past year we have been touched by hundreds of ways in which people have made their own communities better places to be.”