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 £1.3 million until the end of 2020. An investment that so far has helped around 600 co‑operatives and groups with expert business advice, workshops, training and mentoring.
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 233,000 people, contribute £37.7 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 2015, £80 million* has been raised in this to invest in community pubs, sports clubs and local parks.
The Co-operative Bank exists to make a positive difference to our customers and the communities they live and working. By supporting The Hive we can help those communities thrive.