Suma Wholefoods, Daily Bread Co-operative and The New Leaf Co-operative have today (30 June) been announced as the winners of the prestigious 2017 Co-operative of the Year awards.
People running and supporting co-operatives right across the UK have nominated co-operatives to three categories and, after shortlisting, voted for their favourite co-operative in each. With voting taking place online over the last four weeks, the awards have seen co-operatives large and small reaching out to staff, members and customers for their support.
As Sharon Taylor OBE, the Chair of the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network which sponsored the awards, says, they highlight the incredible range of co-ops that make up the sector.
“The Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network is delighted to once again sponsor the Co-operative of the Year Awards which showcase the diversity and success of the UK co-operative sector.
These awards highlight what can be achieved when people work together to build a better world and it is a privilege for CCIN to continue our association with Co-operatives UK in such an exciting way. Congratulations to the worthy winners Suma Wholefoods, Daily Bread Co-operative, The New Leaf Co-op, and to all the other nominees who are driving the UK’s co-operative economy.”
Sharon Taylor OBE, Chair of the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network and Leader of Stevenage Borough Council
Leading Co-operative of the Year 2017
A wholesaler owned and run by its 160 employee members, Suma Wholefoods is celebrating its 40th anniversary and this year was awarded the Queen’s Enterprise award for exports. The Halifax-based business beat other large co-ops, retailer Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society and farmer owned South Caernarvon Creameries.
Emma Robinson, Suma member, said:
“2017 is big milestone for us, as we are celebrating our 40th anniversary year. So we are all really thrilled to get this recognition on our landmark birthday! We believe that being a worker co-operative has given us the flexibility and resilience to grow and succeed as a business, and we’ve always kept the co-operative principles at the heart of what we do. The fact that so many people have voted for us to win this award is a real honour and a great morale boost for everyone at Suma.”
Growing Co-operative of the Year 2017
Daily Bread Co-operative in Northampton has inspired and supported a host of worker owned wholefood retailers since it was established almost four decades ago, and continues to thrive. It beat off new tech co-op Outlandish and green technology developer Dulas.
Frances Lee and David Thomason of the Daily Bread Co-operative said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have won the award for 'Growing Co-operative of the Year 2017', awarded by Co-operatives UK. We are proud of our ’people before profit’ ethos and the ways in which we benefit the local and overseas community through charitable giving. It's a real honour to be recognised within a network of such inspiring and pioneering enterprises and we would like to extend a huge thank you to the organisers. But first and foremost, we are so grateful to our customers and loyal supporters for taking the time to vote for us!”
Inspiring Co-operative of the Year 2017
Established five years ago, the worker owned New Leaf Co-op is offering high quality food in the heart of Edinburgh and is part of a network of young people starting co-ops. It beat off the digital agency Developer Society, Balsall Heath Housing Co-operative and the Naked Lunch Café.
Neus Giner Garcia of The New Leaf Co-op said:
“It means the world to us to be voted Inspiring Co-op of the Year, and for that to be the result of a public vote means even more – we are over the moon! In the five years we have been open, we have always tried to push the boundaries: with our co-operative structure, our packaging-free shopping approach, and a hands-on sense of fun that helps people reconnect with their food. To win this award is a privilege and a massive boost to the whole team to keep working just as hard for the next five years, and to inspire more folk every single day."
“The Co-operative of the Year awards are a great way to celebrate the innovation and impact of co-ops large and small. The shortlist saw co-ops in digital and retail, farming and housing represented, reminding us just how diverse our 7,000 strong co-op sector is. Suma Wholefoods, Daily Bread Co-operative and The New Leaf Co-op are fantastic co-ops and demonstrate how co-ops are a practical way for businesses to be run in a fair and sustainable way.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK
The awards were announced at the UK co-operative sector’s annual conference, Co-operative Congress, which takes place from 30 June to 1 July.