By Helen Kerfoot, Fresh Food Category Buyer

It’s been another fantastic month for awards; last week we snapped up far more than I can count! From sandwiches to schools, we’re really showing off the quality, consistency and excellence of our amazing products and people.

I was a proud attendee of The British Sandwich Industry Awards (Sammies) this year, and I’m delighted to share that we brought home The Sandwich & Food to Go Convenience Retailer of The Year Award, for the fifth year running!

This award identifies the retailer that’s done the most to develop its sandwich business, taking into account everything from marketing and packaging, to sales growth and market share. Up against major food-to-go competitors like Subway, McDonald’s and Greggs, this is a tough category to win, and testament to our fantastic range.

But the celebrations don’t end here! I’m thrilled to hear that we also picked up one gold, 12 silver and 31 bronze awards at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Better still, Co-op’s own brand wine range was awarded 20 of these, including silver winners Co-op’s Irresistible Gavi 2018 and Co-op’s Irresistible Pinotage 2017. Our own brand wine was also much-admired at the International Wine Challenge, where we collected an additional 6 silver awards and 12 bronze awards.

We mustn’t forget that behind our great products and services are great individuals, which is why we’re not short of people awards this month either.

Despite facing stiff competition from the likes of Bupa, NHS and Tesco, we had two fantastic wins at the Contact Centre Management Association (CCMA). Ben Lyons bagged the silver award for Contact Centre Leader of the Year for Large Contact Centres, and Sophie Collis received the Bronze for Contact Centre Training and Coaching Manager of the Year. Meanwhile, Jo Whitfield has been recognised for her ‘enterprising spirit, courage and determination’, taking home the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Award last week. These awards are some of the longest running and most respected in their industries, and it’s great to think we’ve got the best industry-leading talent at our Co-op.

It’s even better that we’re being recognised for using our talent to support learning and development in our communities. Last week Co-op also won the Multi-Academy Trust Category at the National Governance Association’s (NGA) Outstanding Governance Awards for our Co-op Academies Trust’s unique governance arrangements. We were commended for the work that’s gone into making sure our academies’ governing bodies are made up of individuals with a wealth of commercial skills and experience, as well as local knowledge and understanding.

It’s worth highlighting that in addition to all these wins, we’ve been shortlisted for plenty more. This includes two of our top female leaders, Karen Hopkinson and Janet Crier, who’ve made it to the final of the everywoman in Transport & Logistic awards this week.

I’m so proud of everyone’s hard work and it’s encouraging to see it gain such recognition! It really feels like we’re going from strength-to-strength – let’s keep up the good work.