Co-op News AGM and annual report

‘Over the last few years we have focused on becoming more digital, more international and more outward-facing’

Co-operative Press hosted its first online AGM on 22 June, with 37 people in attendance.

Chair Barbara Rainford was joined on the virtual platform by the secretary Richard Bickle, and the executive editor, Rebecca Harvey, who presented the annual report and accounts for the financial year 2019-2020.

Ms Rainford said: “The role of Co-op News is to connect, champion and challenge the global co-operative movement – we have been telling the stories of co-operatives and co-operators around the world for nearly 150 years. Those stories and the way of telling them have changed, but your Press and your board are still utterly committed to upholding the values and principles of co-operation and working for you, our members.”

Co-operative Press reported a turnover of £235,565 for the year ending 29 February 2020 with a gross profit of £53,926 and an operating loss of £3,289, down from £18,020 in the previous year.

In 2019 Co-operative Press embarked on a five-year strategy to help ensure the relevance and sustainability of Co-op News. As part of this it is working to increase digital output, develop new content and services and develop new geographies and sectors.

Rebecca Harvey said: “The focus and the priority of the year was very much on creating a news product that is wholly fit for purpose for the 21st century. 2021 will be the 150th anniversary of the Co-operative Press but our role is very different now compared with last century or the century before. Over the last few years we have focused on becoming more digital, more international and more outward-facing in what we report and how.”

Over the course of the year Co-op News, Co-operatives UK, the Co-operative College and the Co-operative Heritage Trust have also been working together under the New Force initiative to ensure they do not end up duplicating work. The collaboration also resulted in a new co-op podcast (More Than a Shop); work on a joint education and training offer; and a Welcome to the Movement Guide aimed at new co-ops and co-operators.

Co-op News published a total of 938 stories over the course of the year. It also covered 16 UK conferences and three international events. Throughout the year, Co-op News also deepened its relationship with the international co-operative movement, producing content for apex organisations and covering global conferences.