Voting opens for the 2017 Co-operative of the Year awards

Retailers, cafes, housing co-ops and tech groups make the 2017 shortlists

Co-operatives UK has announced the shortlist for the 2017 Co-operative of the Year Awards – and voting is now open.

The awards, organised annually by the sector body, celebrate the UK’s co-operative sector across three categories: Leading Co-operative of the Year; Growing Co-operative of the Year; and Inspiring Co-operative of the Year. Anyone can vote online for their favourite co-ops from the shortlist, with each person getting three votes in total, one for each category.

Three co-ops made the shortlist the Leading Co-operative of the Year 2017: Chelmsford Star Co-operative, an Essex-based customer owned retailer; Suma Wholefoods, a wholesaler and the UK’s largest worker co-operative; and South Caernarfon Creameries, a co-op owned by 110 Welsh dairy producers.

For the Growing Co-operative of the Year 2017, the shortlisted co-ops were: Daily Bread Co-operative, a worker owned wholefood retailer; Dulas, a renewable energy enterprise run by its employees; and Outlandish, a web developers’ co-op.

In the Inspiring Co-operative of the Year 2017 category the four co-ops shortlisted are: Balsall Heath Housing Co-operative, a housing co-op in Birmingham; The Developer Society, a web developers’ co-op; Naked Lunch Café, a co-op café in Liverpool; and New Leaf Co-op, a worker owned wholefood store in Edinburgh.

Related: Central England, the Phone Co-op and Riverside Housing named 2016 Co-operatives of the Year

Commenting on the awards, Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: “We have a wonderful range of co-ops in these awards. I think the passion felt for each and every one of the shortlisted organisations shines through in their nominations.

“It’s a tough choice to make, but because co-operatives are all about giving people control over what matters to them, it is apt that the people – the co-op’s members, customers, suppliers, supporters – will decide the outcome through an online vote.”

Online voting for the Co-operative of the Year Awards will run from 8 May to 25 June, with the winner being announced at the Co-operative Congress in Wakefield on 30 June. Along with the award, the winners will 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. The awards are sponsored by the Co-operative Council Innovation Network.

  • You can vote online here.