Co‑operative businesses impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic can benefit from our partnership with Co‑operatives UK:
As a bank founded on co-operative values, we remain committed to giving our customers a real say in how we do business. In fact, we're the only UK business to have a customer-led Ethical Policy. It's on this policy that we outline our commitment to raise awareness and provide support for the wider co‑operative sector.
That’s why we’re investing in The Hive, the support programme for co‑operatives, created by Co‑operatives UK in partnership with The Co‑operative Bank.
We have committed to £1.7m of funding to help towards providing vital advice, tools and mentoring to new and growing co-operatives and community enterprises. An investment that has so far helped nearly 1,000 groups and co-operatives to grow skills, create sustainable businesses and build a better society.
The Hive’s online resources also cover everything from business planning to HR to give co-operatives all they need to grow. And it doesn’t stop once the business is up and running. The Hive is always there, offering support when it’s needed most to help build businesses and create sustainable employment.
As a bank, we provide accounts tailored to the needs of community businesses and social enterprises. We’re also the largest banker to credit unions. But we wanted to do more; funding The Hive enables us to provide meaningful support and do our bit to nurture, grow and contribute to a successful and resilient co-operative economy.
Co-operatives are good for business. In the UK alone, they employ around 241,000 people, contribute £38.2 billion to the economy, and their active members account for approximately a fifth of the UK population*. They come in all shapes and sizes too, from large retailers to small enterprises, spanning a rich and diverse range of industries.
They are businesses owned and controlled by their members, allowing groups of people to influence the things that matter to them – such as their workplace, a community space or sports club. One way communities across the UK have been able to save local amenities and create new ones is through crowdfunding using 'community shares' - which means as well as the community coming together, anyone who invests also becomes a member and has a say in how the co-op is run.
Since 2012, over £155m has been raised by over 104,000 people in community shares across the UK. This has been invested into over 450 co-operative and community business including shops, pubs, renewable energy schemes, housing projects, community hubs and much more^.
The Co-operative Bank exists to make a positive difference to our customers and the communities they live and work in. By supporting The Hive we can help those communities thrive.