co-op logoFollowing the legal merger of Midlands Co-operative and Anglia Co-operative in December 2013, the Society has a new name, the “Central England Co-operative”, voted in by members.

Underlining the fact that the troubled Co-operative Group is only one of 6000 co-operatives/mutuals in the country, the region’s Central England Co-operative Society reports a good year. A few statistics:

co-op stats

It is hoped that the society’s management will now have learnt lessons from an episode in 2012-2013, following which they were deprived of an extremely able and highly respected members’ relations officer.

The Society’s principal business activities are food, petrol stations and funeral services. It has interests in motor dealerships, specialist vehicle construction, coffin manufacture, florists and farming and manages a significant investment property portfolio that underpins the returns from trading activities. The merger with the Anglia Society has added other retail operations to the trading portfolio: 21 travel shops, 3 opticians and a hair and beauty salon. The Society continues to hold a minority interest in Thomas Cook Co-operative Travel Limited, a joint venture company formed in October 2011.

Supporting communities in which the Society trades

A similar innovation by a neighbouring society in Walsall.

A similar innovation by a neighbouring society in Walsall.

A ‘Post Office Local’ service has been introduced to a food store in Derby and a food store in Stafford.

A main Post Office  has  been set up  in Leicester. 

Unfortunately, the Society’s investment in the start up Energy Saving Co-operative was written off in the year following the winding up of that business. Uncertainty in government policy relating to the financing of energy efficiency measures ultimately undermined the Energy Saving Co-operative’s ability to build sales and continue as a going concern.

Distributions from trading profit have recognised and rewarded the three key groups of members, colleagues and the community for their contribution to the Society.

The ‘Making a Difference Community Dividend’ scheme distributes 1% of trading profits to the local communities served by the Society. The proposed dividend of £198,000 will be allocated by the Board’s Community Dividend Selection Committee to a wide range of community groups and good causes across the Society’s trading area.