Co-operatives UK, the national trade association for co-operative business, has announced the winners of the Co-operative Awards 2013, which recognise the excellence, innovation and impact of co-operatives and mutuals across the country.
The winner of the prestigious Co-operative of the Year Award, sponsored by KPMG, went to Midlands Co-operative Society, one of the UK’s largest and most profitable independent retail co-operative societies in the UK.
Midlands Co-operative has more than 300 trading outlets across 12 counties including the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. It employs more than 7,000 staff and returned a profit of £24.3m in 2012/13. Its principal areas of activity are food, funeral services, crematoria, and transport.
The Society opened fifteen new food stores and two new funeral homes during 2012, and it has an ambitious food store development programme for 2013. Midlands Co-operative Society is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility and has won a wider range of industry awards.
The Co-operative of the Year award is presented to the co-operative that has demonstrated overall excellence in relation to performance on all aspects of running a successful co-operative.
Three other awards were presented to a diverse range of co-operatives.
In the Small Co-operative, Big Achiever Award, sponsored by Midcounties Co-operative the winner was the BCRS Business Loans. They are a co-operative that invest in local business in the West Midlands and have played a key part in helping hard pressed businesses get access to money to invest in their businesses.
The award for Most Innovative Co-operative, sponsored by Co-operative and Community Finance, was awarded to the co-operative that did most to develop a new approach, idea, or practice to enhance how co-operatives do business.
The award went to the Carbon Co-op who have been developing and implementing new ways for people to make their homes more energy efficient and to co-operate with other members to procure new energy efficiency technology at a competitive price.
Finally, the excellence in Member Engagement Award, sponsored by Co-operative News went to Lincolnshire Co-operative Society for the way in which they have successfully used a variety of methods to encourage and enhance the way they engage their members in running the business..
The winners of the awards were announced during the finale of Co-operative Congress in Cardiff, to around 300 delegates from the co-operative sector.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said:
“The Co-operative Awards demonstrate the strength, diversity and success of co-operative businesses throughout the UK. We had some very strong entries and the winners truly deserve their awards.
“Despite the tough economic climate, co-operatives are working hard to innovate and are consistently striving for high performance to deliver excellent services. I’m very proud of the work that all our winners and finalists have done.”