So you get your electricity from Co-operative Energy, you buy your milk from your local Co-op shop and you bought some stamps at the Post Office last week. But did you know what each of these everyday tasks have in common? They are all part of the Midcounties Co-operative.
The co-operative movement
In 1844, The Rochdale Pioneers opened the first successful co-operative shop with the aim of providing a fair priced alternative to poor quality food, using "honest weights and measures" to benefit the community and local areas.
From its beginning, the co-operative movement ran under the principles of open membership and democratic control; the co-operative was open to everyone and everyone had a vote.
Ever since, co-operatives have been working to keep values and promises at the very heart of their business and the communities they supply. Today, members continue to have a say in how our profits are shared, whether that’s returning them to our members through our ‘Share of the profits’ scheme, investing back into the business to help improve our service, or giving back to the local community in our bid to make a positive impact.
Growing bigger and stronger
Now in 2015, The Midcounties Co-operative is the largest independent co-operative in the UK, with sales of £1.21 billion and 507,000 members.
Our unique approach is born of over 165 years of treating customers, members and suppliers fairly. The values held by the Rochdale Pioneers still guide every decision we make today.
The Midcounties groups, which include Food, Travel, Pharmacy, Funeralcare, Childcare, Energy, Flexible Benefits and Post Office, are at the very heart of our community and ensure customers fair prices and open and honest service. Further to supporting our own local communities, The Midcounties support the global Fair Trade movement. The Fairtrade Mark label is an independent guarantee that producers in the developing world are getting a better, fairer deal.
As the newest member of the Midcounties family, Co-operative Energy set out to help and serve our members who wanted something different from their energy provider. Our members wanted a fairer and better energy supply from a provider they could trust, with the aim of re-shaping the industry with simple, uncomplicated and fair prices. In answer to that, our aim is to be completely clear and transparent, focusing on our members, customers and long-term sustainability, keeping our values and ethics at the very heart of all we do.
Community Owned, Community Led, Community Rewarding
Community participation is a major part of the Midcounties ethos today. In 2014, our groups collectively donated over £176,700 to 133 community groups and colleagues, and gave 23,626 community hours back to their communities. Our two-year partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust saw us raise £550,000 for the charity.
If you are part of a community group or organisation, you could apply to Midcounties for funding. You must be a member of The Midcounties Co-operative and your group must be working in a community where there is a Midcounties store. You can apply for a grant from us of up to £2,000. Visit the Co-operative Community Funding page for more details on our funding: http://www.midcounties.coop/Our-Values/Community/Co-operative-Community-Funding/
There is still a lot to come for The Midcounties Co-operative as we work to create a better, fairer world for all. We’re certainly not finished yet.