Co-operative Group members have donated £1.2m of their interim dividend to charities and community groups.

In the first half of the year, the  4.8 million members who used their dividend card earned a total of £16.9m, of which £1.2m will be donated.

Members receive a cash payment based on the points they earn when they shop at any of the group’s businesses, which include: The Co-operative Food, Travel and Pharmacy.

Points earned vary across the group but in Food, Pharmacy and Electricals members receive one point for every £1 spent.

Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “Our interim  profits increased by 14 per cent, so I am delighted that our members are sharing in this success and thanks to their generosity it will make a real difference to many charities and local groups that are doing such great work in the local communities we and they serve.”