Co-operatives UK has announced the shortlisted co-ops for the Co-op of the Year Awards. This year’s awards aim to highlight co-operative enterprises that have shown a particular commitment to the co-operative principles, and those who have stepped up to support their communities during the pandemic.
A total of 23 co-ops and five co-op councils have been shortlisted for the national awards, which is sponsored by the Co-operative Bank.
The awards feature five categories. The Leading Co-op of the Year Award is for co-ops with a turnover above £30 million. The shortlisted co-ops in this category are:
- Central England Co-operative
- Heart of England Co-operative
- The Midcounties Co-operative
The Inspiring Co-op of the Year award is for co-ops with a turnover of between £1m and £30 million. The shortlisted co-ops are:
- The Active Wellbeing Society
- Co-Pilot Wind Project
- Essential Trading
- The Developer Society
- GreenCity Wholefoods
The Small Co-op of the Year: Worker is for worker co‑ops (owned and controlled by their workers) with a turnover of up to £1 million. The shortlisted co-ops for this category are:
- Beyond Pyschology
- Loaf Bakery and Cookery School
- Preston Larder
- Media Coop
- Coffee Cranks Cooperative
- Transition by Design
The Small Co-op of the Year: Community award is for co-ops with a turnover of up to £1 million that are owned by their community. Five co-ops have been shortlisted for this category:
- Bridgend Farmhouse
- The Globe (Pink Lane Jazz Co-op)
- Radcliffe Market
- YnNi Teg
- Sutton Community Farm
The Small Co-op of the Year: Multi-stakeholder category is for co-ops that have members that cover more than one group of people (eg workers, customers, suppliers, their community). This award is for multi-stakeholder co-ops with a turnover of up to £1 million. The shortlisted co-ops are:
- Co-op News
- Lambeth GP Food Co-operative
- Open Food Network
- Tamar Grow Local CIC
The Co-operative Council of the Year award recognises best practice as demonstrated by co-operative local authorities and also celebrates the great work delivered at a local level. This award is sponsored by CCIN, the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network and is open to any Council Member of the CCIN which has not previously won this award. The shortlisted councils are:
- Cheshire West and Chester Council
- Kirklees Council
- Rochdale Council
- Telford and Wrekin Council
- Torbay Council
Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK, said: “As we start to rebuild our economy after over a year of restrictions, these awards shine a spotlight on values-based co-operative businesses and the vital contribution they make to both the local economy and community.
“The shortlist reflects the diversity of the co-operative movement – from a community owned energy project in rural Wales, to a worker run bakery in Birmingham, a non-profit digital agency and retail societies with multi million pound turnovers. Check out the shortlist and show your support by casting your vote online, it only takes a moment and makes a real difference to independent co-operative businesses.”
Catherine Douglas, managing director, SME at the Co-operative Bank, said: “The Co-operative Bank is delighted to be supporting the Co-op of the Year Awards once again. These awards are a great opportunity for us all to celebrate how co-operatives have supported their local economies and communities over the last year, particularly through the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve heard some amazing stories about how organisations and individuals are using the power of co-operation to enable their businesses to flourish in a fair and equitable way and I’m really looking forward to seeing who wins.”
The awards will also honour individuals who embody the co-operative values and principles or have made a significant contribution to the UK co-operative movement, who were selected by a panel of judges.
Co-operators have until at midnight on the 1 June to vote for their favourite co-ops. The winners will be announced online in early July.