Unlocking potential

We recognise that our colleagues are key to our success. We seek to create a working environment that is open, honest and fair, and which encourages people to reach their full potential. 

As the largest independent retailer in our region, we employ over 4,000 colleagues across a wide-ranging family of businesses. We want to create and sustain a diverse workforce where everybody's contribution counts and is valued. 

57% of our managers are female


4.9% of our colleagues are aged over 65


Co-operative Principle No. 5 

Education, training and information - inform, learn and improve. 

Find out more about why we do what we do here. 

Last year, our Learning and Development team delivered 36,500 hours of training

By attracting, developing and retaining talented people, we’ll have a highly skilled workforce for the future, helping to continue the great work that we’re doing today.

We provide our colleagues with a range of training, including both face-to-face and e-learning courses. We are committed to ensuring our colleagues receive the right support to develop their career and live the Co-op values.

Measuring the training we provide is important to ensure our colleagues receive the right support. We measure all formal training delivered to colleagues, including face-to-face training, e-learning courses, induction hours and Apprenticeship hours. In 2018/19 our award-winning Learning and Development team delivered over 36,500 hours of training.

We pay colleagues under 25 years of age the full National Living Wage

As a co-operative, we strongly believe in a fair and ethical approach to pay. That's why all our colleagues receive at least the full National Living Wage, regardless of their age. 

We are focussed on achieving gender pay parity across our business. As part of this, we are placing greater emphasis on flexible working arrangements and creating better access to management training opportunities. 

You can view our Gender Pay report, as well as learn more about the other steps we are taking to increase equality across our business, here.

Did you know?

In 2018 our Learning and Development team were named Team of the Year at the prestigious Training Journal Awards. They also received a Silver Award for Best Organisational Development Programme, designed and delivered in-house.  

Read more here.

We're incredibly proud to have received the following awards:

We pay our Apprentices for the role they do, rather than the Apprenticeship wage

Our Apprenticeship Training Programme offers opportunities to colleagues across our co-op. We enable our colleagues to nominate themselves for an Apprenticeship, with opportunities across several businesses, as well as at head office. Ranging from Level Two to Level Seven, there are also opportunities for colleagues to complete higher level Apprenticeships, such as MBA and CIMA qualifications.

In 2018, 30 of our colleagues joined our Apprenticeship Programme, supported in their development by trained mentors.

Having been recognised with a number of prestigious awards, we are pleased to have been praised for our inclusivity, collaboration and strong focus on creating a talent pool of skilled colleagues to meet real business goals.

We’re also proud to pay our Apprentices for the role they do, rather than the Apprenticeship wage, helping those with financial commitments to continue their own development.

Colleague match funding

So many of our colleagues do amazing things to raise money for great causes. From marathons and sponsored fun runs to skydives and cycling challenges, their dedication to helping improve the lives of others is inspirting. To help make a difference to the charities and and communities close to our colleagues' hearts, we're very pleased to be able to offer a pound-for-pound matched funding scheme, up to £150 per event.




Armed Forces Covenant

We're proud to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a nationally established promise to ensure that those who serve, or who have served, in the armed forces are treated fairly. 

By adding our support to the covenant, we pledge our commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community. We recognise the talent of serving personnel, Reservists, Veterans and military families and know that their skills and experience have a valuable part to play in our business and local communities. 

Read more about the Armed Forces Covenant and our pledge here. 

A Responsible Business

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Values and principles.

Why we do what we do

The first co-operatives back in the 1800s were formed as a different way of doing business that was better for everyone, driven by values and principles which still guide co-ops to this day. 

Today, we're proud to be the largest independent retailer operating in the East of England. We provide food stores and specialist services, such as funerals, security, travel agents and petrol filling stations to communities across Essex. Norfolk. Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. 

With a significant property portfolio and other businesses, such as events and conference facilities and stonemasonry, we are a diverse and modern business. 

As a co-operative business. we're run differently to other big organisations, putting our members first. Our focus has always been, and always will be, the local communities in our region.