Believe it or not, we’re not the only co-op in the UK. We call ourselves The Co-op because our ancestral organisation was the first ever co-operative business (or, mutual) in the world, back in 1844. But now, there are thousands of co-ops around the country and together we have over 17.5 million members, a record for UK co-op enterprise.
The UK’s co-ops span many sectors and industries, from grocery retail (like our Co-op Food business) and domestic energy providers through to farming and agriculture, mobile phone and broadband, utilities and film.
The upsurge in membership that the UK’s co-ops have seen in the last five years, according to Co-ops UK (our industry body), stems from the rise in people joining high street retailers and credit unions and the rise in new community-owned organisations across the country.
What’s more, the recent announcement from us, the UK’s largest consumer co-operative, is set to boost co-op membership further as we plan to return £100 million to our members and your communities each year by 2018, as well as recruiting a further 1 million members into our Co-op too.
Find out more in Co-op UK’s The UK co-operative economy 2016 report here