How village shop co-ops are engaging their members

The Village Shop in Feckenham, run by local volunteers, opened in 2009

The village shop is a cornerstone of rural communities – but they are closing at the rate of 400 a year. Thankfully, the co-op movement is filling the gap, in the form of the village-owned store. There are now more than 300  in operation, compared to 27 just 20 years ago – but how do […]


East Anglian Brewers Co-operative

Beer enthusiasts appreciate the provenance of buying beer from the farm which has produced the barley used to brew it

East Anglian Brewers Co-operative has spent 12 years building up a reputation among discerning drinkers for its artisan ales.   Founded in 2002, the co-operative was helped by start-up funding from a range of bodies including the East of England Development Agency and government organisations such as DEFRA. It now offers real ale drinkers a wide choice […]


Topsham Ales

Topsham Ales began with 10 people, before launching a share offer which attracted over 60 members

1 August 2014 is International Beer Day. Co-operative pubs have been making a lot of headlines, but what about the pints themselves?  Community-owned brewery Topsham Ales has been in business for the past four years, with its beers sold in pubs in Exeter, Exmouth and around the south west.   Run entirely by volunteers, the […]


Southern Co-operative’s business plan sets out sustainable future

Southern Co-operative's growth includes new stores such as Bournemouth East Howes, which opened in April

One of the UK’s largest independents has launched a business plan outlining its strategy for future success. Chief executive Mark Smith and his team at the Southern Co-operative (TSC) have just produced Our Plan 2014-2016 – a 28-page document explaining their vision to employees, members and partner organisations. The brochure is being rolled out across […]


Meet the new chief of Supporters Direct

Exeter City is one of several UK clubs that are majority-owned by their supporters

Supporters Direct, the organisation that helps sports fans become involved in the ownership and running of their clubs, has a new man in charge of its team. Chief executive Robin Osterley is taking up the role after 16 years at Making Music, the National Federation of Music Societies. During his time as CEO at the […]


Milking the rewards of member engagement

FM tanker

One of Britain’s most innovative dairy co-operatives is setting a gold standard for member engagement. First Milk, the UK’s only major dairy business to be 100 per cent owned by British farmers, now operates according to a members’ charter which formally sets out its commitment to giving  1,500 co-operative members a significant role in how […]


Nationwide leads the way in using mutuality to build a sense of citizenship

The launch of the Living On Your Side initiative in November 2012

When it comes to inspiring members and employees to get involved, Nationwide is leading the way.  In 2013, the mutual financial provider achieved Platinum status in the Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index.  It has achieved a clutch of other accolades for its formidable track record in the wider community with a series of […]


Coventry co-operative focuses on community in time of need

Community leaders in Coventry have welcomed an initiative offering funerals customised for Asian families. The Heart of England Co-operative now plans over 100 funerals a year for the Sikh and Hindu population – and is ensuring its services are increasingly geared towards its communities. Its Co-operative Funeralcare branch in Foleshill has a team of specialist […]


Music mogul’s journey from rock and roll to a Fairtrade revolution

Revolver hopes its Fairtrade products will help change the coffee industry

Music mogul Paul Birch earned his place in music history in 1979, when he founded indie label Revolver Records, which has more than 3,500 albums in its back catalogue and notched up a series of famous signings, including Manchester legends the Stone Roses.  Now, its co-operatively run sister company has a fast-growing range of Fairtrade coffee, […]