Nominations have opened for Co-operatives UK prestigious annual Co-operative of the Year awards, a popular vote celebrating the best of the UK’s co-operatives.
Following last year’s success - with 70 co-ops nominated and 27,000 votes cast - the nominations and votes are entirely open, with the people who are running, working in and using the country’s co-operatives nominating and then deciding on their favourites.
Nominations this year are for three award categories:
Leading co-operative of the year 2016 - 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.
Growing co-operative of the year 2016 - for co-ops with a turnover between £1m and £30 million, and includes co-ops from leisure trusts and sports clubs to successful worker-owned businesses.
Inspiring co-operative of the year 2016 - 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.
The winner of each category will receive publicity and the option of £1,000 of business support, as well as the kudos of being voted one of the three best of co-ops in the country.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "There are thousands of co-operatives across the UK – they are developing new ideas, making a difference to local communities, helping their members, creating employment, generating profits. You name it.
“The Co-operative of the Year awards is an celebration of our co-operatives. It’s a chance for the people closest to the UK’s co-ops to nominate and vote for them. Large or small, farmers or designers, the awards showcase the very best of the UK’s co-operatives."
Nominations can be made by explaining in 250 words or less why the co-op is deserving of the award, whether it is their fast growth and profitability or innovative approach to member involvement.
Nominations will be shortlisted in early May before being opened up to a public vote. The winners will be announced at Co-operative Congress on 17 June.