The Co-operative of the Year Awards 2018

The UK's best co-ops, chosen by you

Which are the UK's best co-operatives? From large commercial businesses to expanding enterprises and innovative start-ups, there are thousands of thriving co‑operatives across the UK. We'll soon be asking you, the people who are running, using and supporting co‑operatives up and down the country, to decide.

This year, we're adding a new award – the Co‑operative Council of the Year 2018, to recognise best practice as demonstrated by co-operative councils. 

You will be able to nominate your Co‑op of the Year across each of the four categories from 2 April. The nomination process will close on 29 April with an online vote then deciding the winners from our list of shortlisted candidates.   

The Co-operative of the Year Award Categories

Leading Co-operative of the Year 2018

The leading co-operative of the year award is for co-ops with a turnover above £30 million. Featuring high-performing retail, farming and housing co-ops among others, this will be a hotly contested category – and Suma was last year’s proud winner.  

Inspiring Co-operative of the Year 2018

This award is for co-ops with a turnover of between £1m and £30 million, and includes a range of thriving co-ops, from leisure trusts and sports clubs to successful worker-owned businesses, like last year's winner Daily Bread

Breakthrough Co-operative of the Year 2018

Won last year by New Leaf Co-operative, this award is for co‑ops with a turnover of up to £1 million, covering everything from start-ups and community shops, to freelancer co‑ops and care providers.  

Co-operative Council of the Year 2018

A new award for 2018, this recognises best practice as demonstrated by co-operative councils and also celebrates the great work delivered at a local level.  

"As a member owned society, this award win is particularly important to us because it was voted for by our members. The fact that they took the time to go online and support us shows that they are really excited and engaged with the work we’re doing in their local community." Ben Reid, Chief Executive of The Midcounties Co-operative, Co-operative of the Year winner in 2015

The process

  • Nominations for the four award catgories will be accepted from 2 to 29 April. Those submitting nominations are asked to set out, in no more than 250 words, why they are nominating a co-op for the award
  • Online voting will run from 4 May to 15 June
  • The winners will be announced at Co-operative Congress on Saturday 23 June

How to nominate a co-op

When voting opens, simply complete the form explaining in 250 words or less why you are nominating the co-operative, whether it's yours or another, and submit this with your name and organisation. The only proviso is that the co-op you are nominating must be a member of Co-operatives UK.

What makes for a good nomination

The best nominations will persuade someone who doesn't know the co-op to vote for it. Fast growth? Profitable? Innovative? Great member involvement? Excellent products? Making a difference? It's your decision as to why the co-op deserves the nomination. The key is to convince others to vote for it.

How the shortlisting works

Up to five co-operatives for each category will be shortlisted by our nominations panel, made up of Co‑operatives UK’s Chair, Secretary General and Membership Manager. There are no formal criteria, nominations will be based on the strength of the 250 word nomination. The previous year's winners and shortlisted contenders are not eligible to enter.

How the voting works

Anyone can vote once for their favourite in each category. So each person gets four votes in total, though you can just vote for one if you want. Co‑operatives are encouraged to promote the awards to their staff, customers and members. All votes must be online via the awards website.

What the winners get

As well as being presented with their awards at our annual ceremony, the winning co-ops will benefit from promotion of their co-operative and the kudos of winning this prestigious award. The Breakthrough Co‑operative of the Year will also have the option to access £1,000 worth of specialist business advice from The Hive, our business support programme in partnership with The Co-operative Bank.

The Co-operative of the Year Awards are once again kindly sponsored by the Co‑operative Councils' Innovation Network