Co‑op Fortnight kicks off today!






New CEO at Co-operatives UK




New funding opportunities and free resources to support community businesses






Cooperatives for Climate Action: International Day of Cooperatives 2020 Theme Unveiled

Cooperatives for Climate Action: International Day of Cooperatives 2020 Theme Unveiled

The theme of the International Day of Cooperatives 2020 is COOPERATIVES FOR CLIMATE ACTION. We are inviting the global cooperative community to continue pushing for actions that will address climate change. This critical situation is putting lives and livelihoods at risk, disrupting vital ecosystems for people and the planet.

Our common home is in danger. There are methods of production and consumption that are constantly attacking the environment. We don’t have much time to reverse this situation. We must act now, with our values and principles, to demonstrate on a global scale that it is possible to develop an economy with social inclusion and protection of natural resources,” said Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance.
On 4 July 2020, join us as we raise awareness on the importance of addressing climate change. No country is immune from it, greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50 percent higher than it was in 1990, and global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not act.
Cooperatives worldwide can take this opportunity to show leadership and share their cooperative values in combating this global issue. A Cooperator’s Communications Guide will soon be available to help cooperatives use this day to illustrate the importance of taking action to battle climate change.
As we did last year, together with DotCoop We are launching the 2020 International Cooperative Day interactive map to illustrate how cooperatives worldwide are taking action to battle climate change, and celebrating their successes. Get more information here on how to participate. Last year we registered more than 130 events in around 40 countries worldwide. We also encourage you to promote #CoopsDay and #Coops4ClimateAction widely on all your social media channels.
Why this theme?
The 2020 International Cooperatives Day theme was chosen to support Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 on Climate Action. This event will focus on the contribution of cooperatives to combating climate change, one of the most severe challenges facing our planet during the 21st century. Climate change severely impacts people’s livelihoods around the world, especially the most disadvantaged groups such as small-scale farmers, women, youth, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, who have to cope with extreme natural disasters and degradation of natural resources.
The cooperative movement can use this important opportunity to take a stand as a global actor of change and collaborate with its partners within the international community. This collective effort can significantly impact the climate agenda and achieve a fair, green and just transition for all communities, leaving no one behind. 
About the International Day of Cooperatives
The United Nations International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July. The aim of this celebration is to increase awareness on cooperatives, highlight the complementary goals and objectives of the United Nations and the international cooperative movement, underscore the contributions of the movement to the resolution of the major problems addressed by the United Nations, and strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors.

In 1992, following a concerted lobbying effort by the cooperative members of the ICA and Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) members, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the first Saturday of July 1995 to be International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the establishment of the Alliance, by resolution 47/90 of 16 December 1992.

Since 1995, the ICA and the United Nations have been setting the theme for the celebration of the International Day through COPAC, a multi-stakeholder partnership of global public and private institutions, the ICA being a founding member, that champions and supports people-centred and self-sustaining cooperative enterprises as leaders in sustainable development.

Co-operatives UK Board of Directors Update on Key Decisions March 2020

Co-operatives UK Board of Directors

Update on Key Decisions

March 2020

The Board of Directors of Co-operatives UK met online for an additional meeting in the

context of the COVID-19 virus.

A summary of decisions from the meeting can be found below.

Ed Mayo

Secretary General

Our response to the COVID-19 restrictions

The Board received a report of our work for members over recent weeks. We know that our

members and co-ops in the wider sector are worrying about their ability to continue trade

as well as the short- and medium-term impacts of coronavirus on the sustainability of their

businesses. We are working closely with sector partners to lobby for further support for

co-ops, and we are also in close contact with Government on escalating any particular

issues which are being raised by members.

We are centralising all relevant information and resources on

This includes a ‘live’ FAQ that links to our guidance from HR advice and Governance

teams which is being updated regularly. The following guidance has been made available

and issued to members:

CUK COVID19 - HR Advice

CUK COVID19 - Governance

CUK COVID19 - Government support for business (non HR related)

Staff across the organisation are working to gather enquiries and feedback from

members/co-ops and to collate the data in a way that enables reporting and analysis at a

later date.

Early indications suggest that many of our members and other co-ops are facing

tremendous challenges and uncertainty which is impacting on their business and potentially

on their ability to survive. Many businesses, including co-ops are experiencing particular

difficulties with operational issues, such as cash flow, rent and staffing and it is not yet clear

how or if Government support will be sufficient in the medium-term. We know that if co-ops

cease to trade, this will have direct and wide-ranging impacts on their members, the wider

community, beneficiaries and employees.

As an organisation, Co-ops UK has adapted to the restrictions in place. All staff are now

working from home and we are offering additional flexibility for those with caring

responsibilities. The Board expressed appreciation for all the timely and comprehensive

efforts that had been made by Co-ops UK staff to work together and to support our

members in the new context.

Our events

The Board agreed a shift in our events programme, with no physical events now at least

until September, with online-only events encouraged, and with the Co-op Congress

Festival of Co-operation deferred until 2021.

Co-op Fortnight will go ahead still, as this offers a way to connect the movement at a

national level, and we will work on a theme in contact with members to match the current


Our governance

Currently, the Annual General Meeting for Co-operatives UK will go ahead in June, as

scheduled, but on an entirely online basis. The Board expressed confidence that, having

trialled online participation at recent AGMs, we have the systems in place to make this


In terms of strategy planning, the Board expects to approve operational plans for next year

that are based on our current strategy, so that we have time to look forward when the

current context changes and of course when we have a new CEO in place. Proposals on

the recruitment of the CEO will come for decision at the Board’s next meeting in a few

weeks’ time.

The Board expressed best wishes to the Society Secretary, Zena King, who is on maternity

leave from April. Emma Laycock, as planned, will act as interim society secretary over the

coming period.

Email contact on governance matters during this period can therefore be made to Emma


COVID - 19 Help and Advice

COVID - 19 Help and Advice

The network for Britain's thousands of co-operatives, Co‑operatives UK works to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses worth £37.7 billion to the economy.

More here

Our Voice

Together we promote co-operatives through policy and public campaigns.


Our Support

We develop co-operatives, from innovative start-ups to big businesses.


Our Network

We unite co-operative leaders and practitioners through our forums and events.


Latest from the Co-operatives UK newsroom hosting services to cease from 1 May

Press release  |  3 days ago

Ch-ch-ch-changes: Disrupting the music industry | More Than a Shop podcast

A blog by Leila O'Sullivan  |  2 weeks ago

A message from Secretary General Ed Mayo

A blog by Ed Mayo  |  2 weeks ago

COVID - 19

COVID - 19

Co-operatives East Midlands sends good wishes to all those working in co-operatives in exceptional times and in challenging conditions.  We recognise the dedication given in our food businesses, worker co-ops, and many other examples of how people work together effectively.  This is now more important than ever within our communities and businesses and we know of many wonderful examples of kindness and co-operation. Keep safe.  


Women's Voices

Women's Voices

Celebrating the theme of “Peace” and how women rise to the challenges in their lives to promote peace globally and personally.  An inspiring event, organised by Central England Co-operative Society, took place at the National Memorial Arboretum, near Lichfield on Monday 9 March.  Delighted to meet and see so many women together to share experiences and to renew our sisterhood to work together for a better world. 

Debbie Robinson CEO of Central England Co-op

Elaine Dean - President 

Rebecca Harvey Executive Editor at the Co-op News

Jane Avery, Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Cllr Celia Hibbert, Debbie Robinson

Tanya Noon and Jenny de Villiers 

National Memorial Arboretum

International News

International News

Click on the link below for the latest International Co-op news

International News

2019 Round up

Activity Report of Co-operatives East Midlands for 2019

Co-operatives East Midlands met at Central England Co-operative Society in Leicester for its meeting in January and decided to explore a change in incorporating Co-operatives East Midlands into a company limited by guarantee with Co-operative articles.  It was agreed to submit an application to HIVE, the funding supported by the Co-operative Bank, through Co-operatives UK.    Co-operatives East Midlands were in the process of updating their own contact list within the East Midlands in order to build closer relationships where possible.  It was agreed that event attendance would include the National Retail Conference, Future Co-ops, Co-op College Centenary Conference, Congress, Ways Forward etc. 

The Annual General Meeting was held on 10 April with Jane Powell, (Company Secretary to Lincolnshire Co-operative Society) being re-elected as Chair, Tanya Noon (Membership Officer & Board Member of Central England Co-operative Society) being elected as Vice-Chair and Jenny de Villiers as Secretary/Treasurer.  Thanks were expressed to Lincolnshire Co-operative Society Finance Officer, the Boards of Central England Co-operative Society and Lincolnshire Co-operative Society, the Co-op Party and CASE in Leicester for their continued contributions towards the work of Co-operatives East Midlands.

Following a successful joint working event in 2018, it was hoped that further collaboration could take place with Co-operatives East and Co-operatives West Midlands.  Agreed to look at how training across the regions could take place, i.e. “There is a Co-op for You”.

Planning for the Co-operative Education Workshop in July continued.  A Co-operative Poem campaign was organised for poems to be submitted by 30 April. This resulted in a short You Tube video being produced which included the collaborated poem.

“Co-operative Education Past & Future” Event was held in July.  This event was well attended with speakers from the WEA, Vaughan College and the Co-operative College to build on knowledge of member engagement, adult education linking with co-operation and co-operatives in particular.

A meeting was held at the Boole Technology Centre, Lincoln Science & Innovation Park in Lincoln on 4 September.  Throughout the year, members have given updates on each co-operative society and organisation.  Planning for the next year is underway with focus on partnership working, education and training and how the message of the value of co-operatives can be spread to younger audiences.   A priority was to support co-operative development and how this could be supported.

 The Co-operative College Centenary Conference, held in November at Rochdale Town Hall was attended by Jenny de Villiers (she had been an employee there from 1992-2006).  This was an inspiring conference with speakers from international and UK co-operative sectors.


Our New Campaign Launches - #ThinkWiderThanJustYourself

LINCOLN / 19th March: FREE 1/2 day workshop

LINCOLN / 19 March: FREE 1/2 day workshop for any individual or group considering a co-op for their business or organisation, how to start one and the support available:


The Hero Project CIC and Glenfield Co-op

Here is a short video here of their first community exhibition The Famous Fifty moving into the Co-op


Co-operatives East Midlands 2018 Activity Report

2018 Activity Report of Co-operatives East Midlands

Co-operatives East Midlands was established in the mid-1990s to work in tandem with the setting up of Government regional development agencies, the East Midlands Development Agency and Government Office. Since that time we have continued to work to our objective of raising awareness of co-operatives in their many forms and promoting their development.  2018 has been a very active year and the events it has organised have been well supported.  The themes for the year have been as follows:


24 January – CASE in Leicester

20 June – AGM – The Council House, Derby City Council

5 September – Central England Co-operative Society Distribution Centre, Leicester

8 November – Lincolnshire Co-operative Society


At its meeting on 20 June, David Green of Green Pepper, facilitated a session on “How to raise your profile through social media”.  Attended by Derby Carers Association. Salcare, Kirkby Rotary Club, Kirkby Rotary Club, WEA, Visual Arts & Design, Sight Support Derbyshire, Central England Co-operatives Society Southern Membership & Community Council,  Derbyshire County Council Adult Care, CASE Leicester, Central England Co-operative Society plus members of CEM.  This workshop highlighted the need for ongoing and refresh training about social media and its uses.

Green Pepper

Educational Visits

An education visit to the Rochdale Pioneers Museum and Rochdale Town Hall took place on 18 April with two coaches leaving from Derby/Nottingham and Lincoln.   Attended by 60+ co-operators and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all attending.   Many had not visited the Museum before and were able to learn about our co-operative heritage.  This also enabled different Society members to meet together from Lincolnshire Co-operative Society, the Co-operative Group and Central England Co-operative Society

Toad Lane – Rochdale Pioneers’ Museum

Joint Working

In order to establish firmer joint working between the Regional Co-op Councils of East Midlands, Co-operatives East and Co-operatives West Midlands, a meeting was held in Leicester to draw out priority areas that could support the work being done by these Councils and look at ways of putting out a clear message to the different regions.   This would enable a sharing of resources and expertise.  The event was well attended with over 40 attending, including the Co-operative College Principal, Co-operatives UK, the Co-operative Group Head of Co-operative Relations, the Co-op Foundation Charity and stakeholders interested in furthering this objective. Views were captured on flipcharts and were discussed at the November meeting of CEM with an action plan being agreed.  

Regional Co-op Council Joint Working     

 Social Media & Twitter 

Current Twitter following is 1873 following, 1032 followers.

CEM set up of a new website and subsequent updating/support has been provided by deVilliers Communications in tandem with Jenny in her role as Secretary/Treasurer. 


A review of the Constitution of CEM was discussed on 8 November following some initial research by Jane Powell on the best form of legal entity for Co-operatives East Midlands going forward. Options will be discussed in January 2019.


Grateful thanks is acknowledged and expressed from Co-operatives East Midlands to the following: Lincolnshire Co-operative Society, Central England Co-operative Society, the Co-operative Party, CASE.  There is terrific overall support from members of Co-operatives East Midlands, who often give their time freely, to ensure its success.  We continue to look at innovative ways of working effectively together, with partnerships, and to the mutual benefit of our members.

Wishing you all a very happy and successful 2019!

Jane Powell – Chair

Jenny de Villiers Secretary/Treasurer

December 2018

News from Co-operatives UK and Co-operative College

Co-operative East Midlands Newsletter | More Confidence in Co-operatives over traditional businesses

With an uncertain Brexit around the corner, consumer confidence in business has fallen to a dramatic low. New survey data released today (Thursday 23 August) reveals that just over one third of people (36%) believe that most companies in the UK are fair to consumers,1 down from 44% in 2000 and 61% in 1983 in previous offline research.2

Over three out of four people (76%) now believe that big business benefits owners at the expense of its workers. At the same time, some businesses retain high levels of consumer trust. Over six out of ten people (62%) surveyed trust co-operative businesses, such as The Co-op Group or John Lewis, which are owned by their members who all have a say in how the business is run.

“The co-operative way is to give a voice to those involved in the business and we are seeing an increase in people attracted to this way of working," Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK

The YouGov survey, which updates research carried out in the last 40 years, was commissioned by Co-operatives UK, the trade body for co-operatives – a sector worth £36 billion to the UK economy.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "High street closures, falling profits and uncertainty around Brexit makes this an extraordinarily challenging period for British business, but it will be tougher still if the UK has indeed hit a new low in terms of consumer confidence in business."

The survey found that the strongest driver for whether people trust businesses comes from being a good employer, with 72% believing this made for a trustworthy business, followed by passing on savings to customers (69%), behaving fairly (67%) and a three way tie for fourth with 55%, which was supporting their local communities or caring for the environment and sharing profits with its employees/ shareholders


“The co-operative way is to give a voice to those involved in the business and we are seeing an increase in people attracted to this way of working," added Ed Mayo. "Perhaps it is time for UK Plc, before it is too late, to recast its relationship with customers and employees in a more co-operative spirit."

The YouGov survey follows on from last month's Co-op Economy report, published by Co-operatives UK, which revealed that new co-ops are almost twice as likely as start-up companies to survive their first five years.

Social Media Campaign

Join us on Twitter and Facebook TODAY to promote co‑ops and the Co‑operative Economy report.

  • Share the report on social media using these Facebookand Twitter links
    • Use our graphics and sample tweets which can all be found here
    • Create your own messaging while incorporating the hashtag #coopdifference and linking to the report: 

Sample tweets

REVEALED - Start-up #coops twice as likely to survive first 5 years as other  businesses #coopdifference

7,226 co-ops. 13.1m members. £36.1bn turnover. We’re part of the UK’s dynamic co‑op sector: #coopdifference

If you're thinking of starting a business a new report from @CooperativesUK shows that #coops are the way to go: #coopdifference 


Co-ops Thrive

The Co‑operative Economy 2018 report is out and we can reveal that the UK's 7,226 co‑operatives have a combined turnover of £36.1bn - up more than £800 million on 2017 levels. We also have a record number of co-operative members at 13.1 million. One of the report's standout findings is that co‑ops are almost twice as likely as other businesses to survive their first five years! 

During Co‑operatives Fortnight (23 June-7 July) we now want to spread this report far and wide to show why people need to get behind co‑ops.

Read the full report here:


RCCs meeting at the Co-operative Retail Conference 9/10/11 March 2018

Jim Cooke, Head of the Foundation - gave an inspiring talk about their work with young people and co-operating together to their economic and social advantage and how grants and funding through the Foundation supports their development.  Further call for projects later in 2018.  Each Regional Council gave an overview of their activity.  Sarah Kirkpatrick from Co-operatives East, Tanya Noon from Co-operatives East Midlands and Carl Taylor from Co-operatives West Midlands.  Carl is CEO of BCHS, co-operative housing.  The meeting agreed to build their relationships to work more closely together and also with wider co-operative organisations nationally.  A set of outcomes were defined and an action plan was agreed together.

This was followed by the Co-operative Retail Conference weekend event designed to inform members of Societies of recent data and projects relating to the co-operative economy, challenges and the increasing relevance of defining and giving out a clear messaging of the “co-operative difference” on the High Street  - Steve Murrells, CEO from the Co-op, talked of greater collaboration within the sector and “marching to the same beat”.

Our member, Central England Co-operative Society, profiled their recently awarded project on social impact and return on investment to their communities and members.  A video of the project will be made available.  

Social Media Training Session and Annual General Meeting Wednesday 20 June 2018



12.30 PM - AGM

(Coffee from 9.30 am)









Welcome and Introductions


Annual Review

Appointment of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer

To accept Financial Report


Meeting will close by 1.30pm


To RESERVE a place and to assist with catering arrangements, please advise Jenny de Villiers on jdevilliers@btinternet.comearly booking appreciated!

Any mobility requirements then please let me know

Grateful thanks are expressed to the members of Co-operatives East Midlands for their continued support.

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