In this section

Winter 2013


  • Season's Greetings and best wishes for the year!
Our co-operative difference
New products and services
Meet out Affinity Partner
Keeping up with the times

You can also download a pdf version of this newsletter here


Season's Greetings and best wishes for the year!

2013 was a fantastic year at The Phone Co-op, however, we can't help but think the best is yet to come. The year that has just started will be full of exciting developments and we look forward to sharing them with you.

It's hard to improve on a year that finished with record profits and extended services, such as our move into teleconferencing and our partnership with Community Network. 2013 also saw us as finalists for two national awards - Co-operative of the Year and UK Social Enterprise of the Year - and we received the Living Wage Employer mark.

Finalist for the 2013 Co-operative of the Year Award

Julian Andersen (left) and Vivian Woodell (centre), Board member and CEO of The Phone Co-op,  at the Co-operative Awards. 

As 2014 begins, there are lots of promising signs that it will be a very good year and, although it's too soon to give you all the details, we can definitely say that we've been working hard to grow your co-operative. Vivian Woodell, CEO of The Phone Co-op, says:

"There will be new products and services, and we'll keep on collaborating with like-minded organisations, especially other co-ops. We hope you'll participate in this success."

In the meantime, please accept our best wishes for the New Year. 

Your voice counts

At The Phone Co-op it's you, our members, who decide where our money goes. With your vote at our AGM, last year you chose to make a positive impact on the world.


Together we:

  • helped save The Bevendean Pub (Brighton) by investing £5,000 in its community share offer.
  • supported community energy in the UK by investing £45,000 in initiatives which included the Spirit of Lanarkshire Wind Energy Co-op and Osney Lock Hydro.
  • invested £622,000 in solar photovoltaic installations (since late 2011) which will result in a 140 ton reduction in CO2 per year.


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Our co-operative difference

The Phone Co-op in Cape Town

In November, Isabel Benitez, from our Marketing Department, attended one of the most important events for the worldwide co-operative movement: the International Co-operative Alliance's Global Conference and General Assembly. The event took place in Cape Town, South Africa, where over 1,100 co-operators from 88 countries got together to discuss how co-operatives can address the most pressing challenges of our time.

It's difficult to summarise a four-day event, involving co-operatives from all over the world in a few lines -you cannot imagine how diverse the co-operative movement is until you see it with your eyes! -, but amongst the highlights of our week in South Africa we should certainly mention the Global Coop Marque presentation.

Cape Town - Coop Marque

This Coop label aims to be used across the globe to identify businesses that are using co-operative principles to be better for people, the economy and the environment.

The mark follows on from the 'International Year of Co-operatives' work done in 2012, when the movement started using the slogan "co-operatives build a better world". In fact, this was one of the main discussion topics in Cape Town. All of the talks, panel discussions, workshops and screenings focused on co-operatives and how they don't just contribute but can actively lead the way to a better, fairer and more sustainable future.

For centuries co-operatives have contributed to poverty reduction and gender equality, have fostered social and political participation and brought justice to economics making them part of the solution to the direst challenges not the problem. After all, 1 billion co-op members across the globe can't be wrong, and we are very proud to be part of it.

Isabel attended the ICA's Global Conference after participating in the Cooperation for Sustainability project - we were the lucky winners of a place there which offered by the project. To find out more about it, visit our blog

Cape Town - Arts and Crafts Co-op

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8th February: save the date

Everything is ready for our Annual General Meeting. This year's AGM will take place at The Co-operative Group's new head office, in Angel Square, Manchester.

As a member, this is your opportunity to have a say. Remember we follow the principle of one member one vote, which means all members have an equal say on the key issues of our co-operative, including how we use our profits.

On 8th February, our AGM will approve the amount that will be shared amongst all members in the form of a dividend (following our excellent trading performance last year, the Board is recommending a record dividend of 2.5% of purchases) and will announce the results of our election of directors.

As part of the AGM event, we will be holding a workshop for members where you can find out more details about how The Phone Co-op works, and what we are working on for the future.

We hope to see you there!

For more details about our AGM visit our Membership page.

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Finalist for the Social Enterprise of the Year Award 

At The Phone Co-op, we're very happy we finished 2013 as finalist for the UK Social Enterprise of the Year Award.

This award recognises organisations for their business excellence and innovation, plus their impact on society, the environment and the community. 

Having won this previously in 2008, we know how good it feels getting this special recognition from fellow social enterprise organisations. Although we have to admit to disappointment at not winning this year, being shortlisted is still a good result and we wouldn't have achieved this without the hard work of our staff and the support from our members, so thank you all for that. Our mission now is to get it again in 2014.

 Social Enterprise Awards 2013

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New products and services

Teleconferencing services for organisations making a difference 

In July last year, The Phone Co-op took over Community Network's teleconferencing services so The Co-operative Business Telecoms can now offer new and improved conferencing services to our customers. Here, Guy Ohlenschlager, our Corporate Sales Manager, offers some further details about it.       

The benefits of teleconferencing are obvious if you think about it - it connects colleagues from many and various locations, saving travel time and cost, and environmental impact - something we just love! However, many organisations don't even think of using it because it sounds complex or looks expensive.    

The Co-operative Business Telecoms now provides three types of service:

• Customer Managed -our DIY serviceRona

We give you a special telephone number for all the participants in the conference to call in and you handle the calls. Unlike many competitors that use expensive numbers, with our service you call an 020 or 0800 number, in which means the participants can call for free or at low cost.

• Operator Attended -a little bit of help.

Everyone rings the number at the arranged time. Our operator greets, connects and introduces all the participants. We remain accessible throughout the conference in case you get stuck or need further assistance, plus letting you know when your allocated time is getting closer.

• Operator Managed -just like travelling first class.

You just need to book a specific conference time, give us a list of participants and we do everything else for you. One of our colleagues calls everyone and connects them to the conference. This service is especially suitable for befriending groups and social inclusion projects, which is what Community Network was started for in the first place.

The most important aspect of a conferencing service is that it is well managed, fault-free and offers a back-up service if you ever need it. We offer this at a lower price because we care for our customers. We believe in offering affordable telecoms for everyone. 

Find out more by visiting Alternatively, you can call 020 3559 9000 or email us on

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We're getting new telephone numbers

From January 2014, we have changed all of our telephone numbers to our local landline numbers.

Customer services: 01608 434000

Residential Sales: 01608 434040

Business Services: 01608 434070

Membership: 01608 434006

Although our call packages have included calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers within their allowance, we're all aware calls from mobile phones don't and so can be higher. This will stop any concerns on that.

With these changes, The Phone Co-op is also a step ahead of new government legislation which makes this mandatory for all customer query telephone lines from June this year.

There is nothing to worry about. Our previous telephone numbers will still work, but we recommend that our customers use the local number.


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Are you on the right tariff?

We have all sorts of options available for broadband usage, calls and mobile packages which will help you to save money.

If you would like to assess your options, please call us on 01608 434 040. We'll do an "MOT" and will see whether we can save you money or offer you a better service.

We're here to help. We are on your side.

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Meet our Affinity Partner 

New Internationalist: 40 years putting the world to rights

In 2013, our partner New Internationalist magazine celebrated its 40th anniversary. From modest beginnings as a student magazine, New Internationalist has grown to become an internationally respected publisher.

This not-for-profit worker co-operative has reported on world poverty, human rights and inequality for four decades. The magazine's unique style of upfront campaigning journalism has gathered many prizes over the  years, and just last year they took home an Amnesty International Media Award.

New Internationalist

A great deal has changed over the last 40 years. With 35,000 subscribers, 2013 has seen New Internationalist plant itself firmly in the digital era with the launch of its own iPad app. Other popular web developments include its network of international bloggers and their lively presence on Facebook and Twitter.

The magazine remains true to its original mission, however there have been editorial shifts. Chris Brazier, Co-Editor of the magazine since 1984, explains:

"The New Internationalist's founding mission was 'meeting basic human needs' for all. In 1973, winds of change were blowing; inspiring and idealistic leaders were taking power in former colonies. Forty years on, we expected the 'war on want' to be won by now.  And in many ways, progress has been remarkable. Child malnutrition and death rates in the Majority World have halved, and life expectancy is up from 40 to 60 years. And yet, the very poorest have often been excluded. If the last 40 years were the fight for World Development, the debate has now shifted to the Struggle for Equality: it's time to side with the poorest 20%."

Our partnership with New Internationalist started 10 years ago. Amanda Synnott, Marketing Manager, explains:

"Working with the Phone Co-op generates important revenue that we use to support the magazine, what's more, our readers want to know about companies that offer ethical alternatives."

New Internationalist is clearly adapting and evolving with the times and one thing is for sure, they will be beating the drum for justice and freedom for many years to come.

If you are involved in, or know of, an organisation that needs to raise funds, why not suggest they become one of our Affinity Partners? We want to work with organisations that share our values for mutual benefit. Our partners endorse our services to their supporters and we share the revenue with them. To find out more, call Pat Moral on 0845 458 9045 or email for more details. 

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Keeping up with the times

According to the Office for National Statistics, 36 million adults accessed the internet every day last year; an increasing number of them (53%) doing it from their mobile phones.

 At The Phone Co-op, we keep up with the times, so we are working to improve our website to make sure we provide the best service to our customers and members. Now, with our new mobile site, you can find all the information about our products and services. You can even get in touch from your mobile.

With our new mobile site, you'll be able to find information about our products, place an order or even get in touch from your mobile phone. 

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Visit our new Membership page

We've renewed our Membership page, to offer our members a platform to leave their feedback and comments, make suggestions, interact, and have their say. It also offers information about upcoming events, like our AGM, and relevant news from the co-operative sector. Check it out!

And, remember, if you aren't a member yet, you can sign up online

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Easy Read Mobile Guide

This guide, published by Ofcom, offers advice to people with learning difficulties on how to get the most out of their mobile and how much it could cost. Easy Readis available on our Help and Support page

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Email billing: cheaper & greener

Have you ever thought of switching? Email billing is cheaper (save £1.50 each month so £18 a year); greener (helping reduce paper waste and carbon dioxide emissions); and faster (you get your bill sooner). Activate it now! Call us on 01608 647700, email or click here.

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Spread the word

Happy with our services? Proud of being a member of The Phone Co-op? 

Then, tell your friends. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We are the only phone and broadband provider in the UK owned by you. 


We are here to serve our members and customers, and we like to provide you with interesting news and updates. Tell us how we are doing and if there is anything you want us to write about. Contact us by email on

Customer Services 01608 434 000

Residential sales: 01608 434 040

Business Services: 01608 434 070

Membership: 01608 434 006


Need help?

Call us on 01608 434 000 for assistance, or send us an e-mail and we'll call you.