The Co-operative of the Year Awards 2019

The UK's most inspirational co-ops, chosen by you

From large commercial businesses to expanding enterprises and innovative start-ups, there are thousands of thriving co‑operatives across the UK. We asked you, the people who are running, using and supporting co‑operatives up and down the country, to decide which organisations will be named Co-operative of the Year 2019.

Following a record number of votes, the winners of the Co-operative of the Year 2019 have been announced! Click here for all the details. 

All the winners were presented with their awards on 21 June at a dinner held at Co‑operatives Congress. This year, to celebrate 150 years since the first Congress in 1869 we introduced two individual awards, Co-operator of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award. Those awards honoured individuals who have contributed to shaping the co-operative movement. A public vote decided the winners of all categories with the exception of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was decided by an expert panel of judges. 

Unlike many other professional business awards, the Co-operative of the Year Awards are completely FREE to enter. They are open to all Co-operatives UK members.


The Co-operative of the Year Awards are sponsored by The Co‑operative Bank. 

The Co-operative of the Year Award Categories

Leading Co-operative of the Year 2019

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 –  The Midcounties Co-operative was last year’s proud winner - who will take home the prize in 2019?.  

Inspiring Co-operative of the Year 2019

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. Last year's winner was Foster Care Co-operative.

Breakthrough Co-operative of the Year 2019

Won last year by The Service, 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 2019 (sponsored by CCIN)

Won for the first time last year by Cardiff Council, this recognises best practice as demonstrated by co-operative local authorities and also celebrates the great work delivered at a local level.  This award is sponsored by CCIN, the Co-operative Councils' Innovation Network.

Co-operator of the Year 2019

This new award recognises inspirational UK-based co-operators who embody the co-operative values and principles. Nominations are open to anyone affiliated to a Co-operatives UK member.

Lifetime Achievement Award 2019

Honouring individuals who have helped to shape today's co-operative movement. Award nominees should have made a significant contribution to the co-operative movement and had an impact  on one or more co-ops. This award will be decided by an expert panel of judges.

"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 and 2018

The process

  • Nominations for the six award catgories were accepted until midnight 29 April 2019. Those submitting nominations were asked to set out, in no more than 250 words, their reasons for nominating organisations or individuals for an award.
  • Co-ops could nominate themselves or another co-op AND individuals for the awards. They were asked to select which category you think best suits the nomination. 
  • Online voting took place from 6 May to 13 June. There is no provision for voting by any offline means
  • The winners will be announced at Co-operative Congress at an awards dinner held on the evening of Friday 21 June


How to nominate a co-op or individual

Those nominating were asked to complete the form, explaining in 250 words or less why they were nominating the co-operative and/or individual.

The co-op(s) nominated must be a member of Co-operatives UK and cannot have won an award in 2018. Co-operator of the Year Award nominees must be affiliated with a Co-operatives UK member co-op. 

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.

Similarly for individual awards, we are looking for people who really embody the co-op values and principles. Are they an inspirational mentor? Great at encouraging co-operation amongst co-ops? Dedicated to co-op education? Let us know what difference they have made to the UK co-op movement.

How the shortlisting works

Up to five co-operatives or individuals for each category will be shortlisted by our nominations panel, made up of Co‑operatives UK’s Chair, Secretary General and a senior representative from sponsors The Co-operative Bank and CCIN (for the Co-op Council Award). Shortlisting will be based on the strength of the 250 word nomination(s). The previous year's winners are not eligible to enter.

How the voting works

Anyone can vote once for their favourite in each category. So each person gets six votes in total, though you can vote for fewer 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 and individuals 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.