Blog article

A message from Secretary General Ed Mayo

As we face weeks and perhaps months of social distancing there has never been a more important time to co-operate.

We’re seeing it across the country. With stories of neighbours checking on vulnerable people, retailers working round the clock to deliver food where it’s needed and NHS workers and health care professionals spending time away from their own families to keep us all safe. To all those playing their part, we can’t thank you enough.

The economic and human impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. But we’ll get through it, together. The importance and relevance of the co-op values of solidarity and self-responsibility are more apparent than ever.

We’re co-ops. We know how to do this. If there is ever a sector that can ride out the current economic uncertainty it is the co-operative sector. Based on our wonderful shared principles, co-operatives are set up for the benefit of your members - and your members can be a resource for immediate support.

Look to where your strength is. Members want their co-operative to survive. Make sure you engage your members in your planning.  Ask them for help and yes, ask them for extra funding if you need it. We’ve seen crowdfunders pop up all over the place – like The Larder in Preston, who are fundraising to provide 10,000 meals for vulnerable people in their community, during this difficult time.

What is Co-operatives UK doing to help?

Here at Co-operatives UK we’re working hard on your behalf to seek clarification that the government package of support for business applies to co-ops and community benefit societies. We’ve already written to government to help ensure our great sector is adequately covered by these relief measures. Read our simple summary and tell us if you are facing specific challenges accessing this support, so we can lobby on your behalf.

We’re also talking to funders to leverage financial aid and advice for those co-ops most in need. Details will follow in the coming days. And we’re creating simple, clear advice that you can use on a practical level to see your way through the deluge of information, rumour and fake news.

We want to hear from you about the issues your organisation is facing, so we can influence policy makers and funders – and create the advice and support you need. Send us your questions and join our webinar on Tuesday 24 March at 1pm.

As co-operators, we are well placed to overcome the challenges ahead. We might be communicating in a different way, with physical distance between us, but we’re standing together in solidarity.

In co-operation,

Ed Mayo
Secretary General


Our COVID-19 advice pages are reviewed regularly. Sign up to our email newsletters for latest guidance. Or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

For advice enquiries please contact us on [email protected] or call 0161 214 1751

Written by Ed Mayo
Updated: 20/03/2020