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The Phone Co-op awarded 2016 Growing Co-operative of the Year

Published date: June 2016


By Pat Moral

The awards were organised by Co-operatives UK, the national network that works to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses, which are worth £34.1 billion to the UK economy.

The Phone Co-op is a consumer co-operative that exists to serve its members, and inspire others with an alternative, better model for business and the economy. It is the UK's only telecommunications co-operative, procuring fixed and mobile telecommunications services on behalf of its customers, many of whom are also social enterprises.

A growth in turnover of 19% over the last five years to £10 million, a surge in membership to 11,000, along with its strong ethical commitment, saw The Phone Co-op take the lead over other nominees Salford Community Leisure and Webarchitects.

Vivian Woodell, Chief Executive of The Phone Co-op, said:

"We're delighted that The Phone Co-op has been recognised by co-operators across the UK in this prestigious national award. It's a tribute to everyone involved, including the Board and all my colleagues who work so hard every day to make sure we're providing the best possible service, while making a real co-operative difference as well.

"It's also a tribute to our members, without whose support The Phone Co-op couldn't have achieved what it has. It means a huge amount to all of us that we've won because of the support of people across the UK. You've given us the encouragement to keep pushing ahead and to take The Phone Co-op and co-operation to the next level. Thank you!"

By partnering with a like-minded Social Enterprise like Fairphone, The Phone Co-op is bringing meaningful change to the telecoms industry and informing consumers on why they should care about where their products come from. Working directly with mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fairphone has a traceable supply chain for all four so-called 'conflict minerals' (gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten), and prioritises the wellbeing of the factory workers who make its ethical smartphones in China.

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said:

"The Co-operative of the Year awards are an annual showcase of the UK's best co-operative businesses - and with the winners decided by the votes of staff and customers they are of real value to the winners.

"The Phone Co-op has grown quickly in a difficult and fast-paced market whilst delivering unswerving support for co-operative and environmental initiatives. Well done everyone at The Phone Co-op on their richly deserved success in the 2016 Co-operative of the Year awards."



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