Tesco customers will decide which of three local community projects in their area will receive the lion's share of the money donated through the Government's 5p plastic bag charge. Through the scheme, called 'Bags of Help', grants of £8,000, £10,000 and £12,000 will be awarded to charities and groups across the UK for spending on environmental improvement projects. Customers will receive a token at the till to vote for the local project they think most deserves the bumper £12,000 grant, and have until 6th March to make their vote count. Over 1000 community projects will benefit from Tesco's scheme.

A total of £11.5 million raised from the sale of Tesco bags in the UK since October 2015 will be donated through Bags of Help, which is expected to be one of the biggest environmental improvement drives the UK has ever seen. 

Over a thousand initiatives directly chosen by local people will get the green light thanks to the scheme including brand new pocket parks, sports facilities, woodland walks and community gardens. Bags of Help will be administered by UK environmental improvement charity Groundwork.

Matt Davies, Tesco UK and ROI CEO said:

“We want to serve Britain's shoppers a little better every day, and everything we do at Tesco is informed by what our customers tell us.

“That's why we wanted to give our customers the chance to choose the environmental projects they most want to benefit from the money raised through the bag charge.

“Our customers will help us make sure the money raised through the charge goes to make the biggest difference to local communities up and down the country.”

As well as providing a vital funding lifeline for local improvement projects, the Government's plastic bag charge has helped slash the number of plastic bags customers use during their weekly shop. Since the introduction of the charge in October, customers in England use 30 million fewer bags every week, a reduction of almost 80%.

Groundwork's national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said: 

“Bags of Help is a fantastic initiative which will make a real difference to the communities it helps.

“Having worked alongside communities across the UK for 35 years we've always known that local people know best on how to improve the places that matter to them.  Offering Tesco customers the chance to vote on which project receives the top grant is a great way for them to have a real say on where their money is spent and how the communities they live in are improved.”

The projects that will be voted on by Tesco customers were nominated by local people and community groups, and whittled down to three for each area by special teams made up of Tesco colleagues from local stores.

Customers can make their choice instore and join the conversation on twitter using #BagsOfHelp.