Let’s celebrate Co-op Fortnight!

Monday Jun 21, 2021

Millions of people are co-op members. Are you?

Co-op Fortnight runs from Monday 21st June to Sunday 4th July, and it is a time when Co-ops of all shapes and sizes come together to show the power of Co-operation. Our friends at Co-ops UK have produced a video on why people should join their local co-op which you can see here.

There are lots of different types of Co-ops, from student housing to pubs, footballs teams to banks, but they are all owned and controlled by their members. Chelmsford Star is a retail co-op, and our customers are our members. Each person who pays £1 to join our Society is a shareholder.

Where did it all start?

The world’s first successful co-op was formed in 1844 by a group of 28 working class men from Rochdale. Living conditions were tough in the industrial towns of northern England and they were fed up with spending most of their income on poor quality staple products, such as flour, sugar, butter and oats. They decided to set up their own shop, and drew up a set of ethical rules to make sure their shop always looked after people before profit and ensured the community they served were offered quality items at a fair price. These rules, known as ‘Co-op Values and Principles’ are still adhered to by all Co-ops today.

The Rochdale Pioneers, as this group of individuals are now commonly known, spurred the movement which has been successfully replicated around the world and continues to thrive today. There are now millions of independent co-ops around the world, and over 7,000 in the UK alone.

You can find out more about Chelmsford Star’s Values and Principles here.

Why join a co-op?

Each Co-op offers its members different reasons for joining. It might be a financial benefit, such as gaining a dividend from your purchases and receiving a ‘share of the profits’ each year (as with Chelmsford Star), it could be discounts to their services, or it could be simply the feeling of solidarity offered by being part of a local group of similar-minded individuals.

We asked some of our members why they joined us…

“I became a member because I have always shopped in the Co-op, right back to the time that my mum did in the 1950’s.” V Finn (Member)

“I became a member to support my local shop.” L Hunt (Member)

“I was using my local store anyway, so joining up and benefiting from each sale just made sense.” S Copeland (Member)

“Co-ops have always been a part of my life and when I moved to Chelmsford and discovered it had its own independent Co-operative Society I signed up and have enjoyed shopping here for 3 decades. Becoming involved was just a natural way of paying back to our wonderful Society.” J Saunders (Society President)

Not a member yet? Then find out more here.