The Midcounties Co-operative - Regional Communities

The Experian Building Stronger Communities Award, in recognition of Sir John Peace, Shortlisted 2015, Reaccredited 2016.

The Midcounties Co-operative has supported local foodbanks, improved access to defibrillators and encouraged its employees to get involved in volunteering. This has increased employee engagement and reinforced the Co-operative’s values.

Social impacts

  • Diverse issues in the local community were addressed by involving 550 employees in volunteering, directly benefiting more than 1,000 people.
  • By supporting 40 local foodbank schemes through donations of 8,000 items, food poverty in the community was relieved.
  • In three trading sites access to defribulators, proven to increase people's chances of surviving a cardiac arrest, has been provided.

Business impacts

  • Employee engagement was increased through volunteering, fundraising and ambassador opportunities, leading to the achievement of an engagement score of 80, the highest to date.
  • Member trade improved due to raised awareness of services and products; for example member trade increased by 1% in Cannock and 9% in Swindon.
  • The Midcounties Co-operative's reputation was improved through engaging communities in the company's values and socially responsible practices, and 53 pieces of positive media coverage were generated.

The Midcounties Co-operative focused on two issues: addressing food poverty and improving access to defibrillators. Food bank use increased by 163% in the UK last year, while sudden cardiac arrest is one of the biggest killers in the UK, with a survival rate of less than 5%. Defibrillation can increase a person’s chance of survival to 70% if used within three minutes.

The Co-operative used its existing Community Fund and employee volunteering and fundraising programmes to support these initiatives. It raised more than £8,000 for three defibrillation kits, trained employees in how to use them and worked with 40 foodbank groups to encourage customers to donate products in 140 stores.

In total, the programme directly supported 1,046 people in 133 community groups and indirectly helped 337,964 people. Around 550 employees from 55 trading sites got involved in volunteering and the co-operative reached an audience of more than three million people through positive media coverage.

What Midcounties Co-operative CEO said:           

"As a co-operative business, social responsibility underpins all elements of our business, having the total support of the board and management. Our DOES values (democracy, openness, equality and social responsibility) are embedded throughout the business and are part of everything that we do. Supporting our communities is a key component of our Social Responsibility strategy and through the Regional Communities programme we are able to engage our diverse community groups and make positive impacts working with our colleagues and members, and ultimately make a positive co-operative impact in the community.” - Ben Reid OBE, CEO

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