The shortlist has been announced for the Co-operative of the Year Awards 2018, with 17 co-ops and six co-op councils being nominated across four categories.
The awards, organised by apex body Co-operatives UK and sponsored by the Co-operative Council Innovation Network, will choose the Leading Co-operative of the Year; Inspiring Co-operative of the Year; Breakthrough Co-operative of the Year; and – for the first time – Co-operative Council of the Year.
The winners will be decided by an online vote which runs until 15 June. Voting is open to all, with individuals eligible to cast one vote per category.
The shortlists are as follows:
Leading Co-operative of the Year
- Central England Co-operative
- East of England Co-operative
- The Co-op Group
- Midcounties Co-operative
- The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (OMSCo)
Inspiring Co-operative of the Year
- Cartrefi Cymru, a co-operative which supports people with learning disabilities in Wales
- financial services provider London Mutual Credit Union, which operates in some of London’s most disadvantaged communities
- Somerset-based independent retailer Radstock Co-operative Society
- Foster Care Co-operative, the UK’s only co-operative fostering agency
- Manchester-based wholefoods worker co-operative Unicorn Grocery
Breakthrough Co-operative of the Year
- Co-Cars, a hire-by-the-hour social enterprise in Exeter and the south west
- the community-owned traditional Welsh pub Cymdeithas Tafarn Sinc
- Fairtrade sports balls supplier Bala Sport
- Glenwyvis Distillery, the world’s first community-owned distillery;
- Manchester-based architects Loop Systems
- award-winning film producers The Service
- Third Sector Accountancy, a worker co-operative offering an ethical approach to financial services.
Co-operative Council of the Year
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- South Tyneside
John Atherton, Co-operatives UK membership manager, said: “I think the wonderful thing about these awards is that people get to find out about co-ops that perhaps they’ve never heard of before. I do hope people take the time to read through the submissions for each of the nominations, as the passion felt for these great co-operatives really shines through. Also it’d be great if people vote across all four categories as well.
“As always, voters are faced with tough choices. The diversity is incredible, from foster care to high street retailers, and from accountancy to Fairtrade footballs. We’ve also thrown local government into the mix, with our new award for co-operative councils.
“We like to shout about co-operatives giving people control over what matters to them, so that’s why it’s now down to the people – to co-op members, customers, suppliers, supporters and more – to decide the outcome in our open, online vote.”
You can read statements from each shortlisted co-op and vote online here until 15 June, with the winner announced at Co-operative Congress in London on Saturday 23 June.
The Breakthrough winner will also receive the option to access £1,000 worth of specialist business advice from The Hive, Co-operatives UK’s business support programme sponsored by the Co-operative Bank.
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