Get involved with the movement – Co-operative Party

The party of the co-operative movement

We're proud to be the political party of the co-operative movement.

There are more than 7,000 co-ops in the UK with 13 million members, a turnover of £36 billion each year and almost 250,000 employees in all sectors of the economy.

Help us grow the movement by joining, supporting and trading with co-ops whenever you can - we've listed some below along with links to find other co-ops in your area.

The Co-operative Group is the UK's largest co-operative with food stores and funeral parlours in many parts of the country. They also operate national businesses including Co-op Legal Services and Co-op Insurance.

The Midcounties Co-operative has food and travel stores, pharmacies and funeral parlours in the West Midlands, Oxfordshire, Glos and Bucks. They also operate national businesses including Phone, Energy and Childcare.

Central England Co-operative has food and travel stores and funeral parlours in sixteen counties across Central England, including the Midlands, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and parts of Yorkshire.

East of England Co-operative has food and travel stores and funeral parlours across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. They also operate Co-op Secure Response security services.

Scotmid Co-operative has food stores and funeral parlours across Scotland. They also operate in northern England as Lakes and Dales Co-operative, and own SemiChem pharmacies.

Chlemsford Star Co-operative has food and travel stores and funeral parlours across Essex as well as the Quadrant department store in Chelmsford.

Trade Co-operatively

Co-operatives are businesses owned and run by their members. Whether they are customers, employees or service users, all are given an equal say in what the business does and a share in the profits. As well as your local co-op stores, here are some national businesses that you can trade with and support:

Co-operatives UK keeps a directory of 7,000+ co-ops that you can search to find co-ops near you that you can join, support and trade with.

Find Your Credit Union locates credit unions in your area. Credit unions are financial co-ops that support members to save and borrow money fairly.

Other co-ops with food, travel, funeral and pharmacy stores are Southern, Lincolnshire, Heart of England, Tamworth, Radstock and Clydebank.

Co-operative Movement Support Bodies

The Co-operative Party is one of a number of organisations that have been established to support the co-operative movement and champion our value and principles. Other organisations include:

Co-operatives UK is the network for co-operative businesses, working to promote and develop member-owned business.

Co-op News is a news website and monthly magazine with information, features and updates from co-ops around the world.

Co-operative College is an educational charity that works to support, educate and train co-operatives and their members.

Co-operative Heritage Trust preserves the movement's story, including the original Pioneers' store on Toad Lane, Rochdale.

Co-operative Values and Principles

Every co-op around the world is united by a set of values and principles dating to the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. Today they're overseen by the International Co-operative Alliance, along with the Global Co-operative Brand, and International Co-operative Day (first Saturday of July).

Co-operative values

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Co-operative Principles

The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
    Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  2. Democratic Member Control
    Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.
  3. Member Economic Participation
    Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
  4. Autonomy and Independence
    Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
  5. Education, Training, and Information
    Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
  6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
    Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  7. Concern for Community
    Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.