One thousand extra communities Co-operating

October 31, 2012

The rapid growth in the number of community-owned businesses was underlined today (31 October) when The Co-operative revealed it had supported 1,000 grassroots mutual organisations since it launched its Enterprise Hub three years ago.

Since 2009 The Co-operative Enterprise Hub service has delivered almost 3,500 days of free specialist support, providing the tools, skills, knowledge and confidence to drive community-led regeneration UK-wide.

From pubs to post offices and retail to renewables the country is witnessing a resurgence in enterprises set up, run and controlled for the benefit of the community, with latest figures showing a near ten per cent year-on-year rise in enterprises using the co-operative model of business ownership.

In a move to maintain the momentum of community-led solutions to the running of businesses and services, The Co-operative has pledged a further £5m over the next three years (2013-15) to developing the service.

Michael Fairclough, The Co-operative’s Head of Community and Co-operative Investment, said: “Communities across the country, driven by needs other than to maximise profit, are turning to co-operatively-owned solutions for the provision of businesses and services.

“These enterprises are operated by a general public increasingly concerned for accountability, transparency and sustainability and, collectively they are making a significant contribution to the rebalancing of the UK economy.”

In addition to its core service of specialist advice and training to support the creation and growth of member-owned enterprises, The Co-operative Enterprise Hub has extended its offer to include dedicated support for community-owned renewables and, a unique scheme to underwrite community share issues.

Further information about setting up a community-owned enterprise is available at

Additional Information:

Sector figures: Latest figures (for year end 2011) show a near ten per cent increase in the number of co-operative enterprises in the UK – there are now almost 6,000 (5,933) enterprises using the co-operative model of business ownership - a figure that had risen from 5,450 in 2010. Co-operatives operate across all business sectors and, their combined turnover exceeds £35Billion with their combined membership rising 5.5 per cent (between 2010-2011) to 13.5 million people.

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain’s largest farming operations. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies over 50 commitments in these areas. The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.  Further information is available at

Contact Information:

Andrew Torr
The Co-operative Group Press Office
Mob: 07702 505551